Monday, July 13, 2009

Customers 1st 2009 Podcasts: A Conversation with Kathleen Peterson: Part 2

As we get gear up for the 2009 NACCM: Customers 1st Event this year, we're going to be interviewing and getting to know the speakers and sponsors who will bring their perspectives on customer service to you. We recently sat down with chair Kathleen Peterson to talk about the event, both today and what has changed since she first chaired it back in 2003. This podcast will have six part, so check in next week for part three.

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Tell us why you feel this is THE year companies must focus on both their customer AND their people?
Kathleen: Well I think when you look at what’s going on from a strategic perspective, strategies at the senior level have become very customer centric. The strategic perspectives include both top and bottom line growth. The customer is obviously a central part to top line growth: increasing the number of customer we serve, increasing retention and increasing the share of wallet and they are all consideration in growing the top line. But the bottom line is in gaining efficiencies. So how do we contribute to revenue generating opportunities and the only way that has been proven is that we know people have execute strategies. We know in a lot of organizations, there are fewer people than there once were. So when we look at why it is important to both, you can’t focus on one and not the other. Because if you focus on efforts toward attracting and retaining your customers and you don’t allow for the requirements that your people have to execute that you know your efforts are for not. In some ways we were in sort of a “pretty” period, everyone was dancing in the woods and everything was wonderful. But now the excess is gone. And people come to work with brains. Everyone is really capable, I believe, of doing a good job and making a contribution. Our leaders in this business have to become really experts not only on the customer side but what do I need to do to inspire and motivate every single member of the team from top to bottom from cross functionally, cross departments, cross sites and enterprise how ever it’s going to work. From suppliers to customers to billing, everyone has to be on board and everyone has to understand it. Not that we can’t tolerate excesses but we can’t afford them anymore. We are going to look at the people processes in terms of how that supports the customer experiences that we’re committed to strategically.

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