What Direction is Your Energy Focused?
Everyday I see examples of good intentions without the correct directional focus hindering the performance of organizations. These moments of contact are usually created during interactions with customers – those folks who actually do pay for everything done within an organization.
Therefore, the question of the day is…
Which direction are your focusing your energy today?
Need some assistance as to what I’m asking you about? It is a simple question with your answer impacting the overall performance of your organization.
Is you energy directed internally towards your operation or externally toward your customers? The answer again has huge impact upon your brand and especially your relationship and perceptions held by your customers.
First, why is this important to know? Because if you are focusing your energies internally then it is all about your company, products and systems with usually little thought about how does this practice, product or system help our customers have a better experience.
Second, when you are focusing more energy on your outside world – the world of customers – you have a better opportunity of creating a favorable brand with loyal customers following you and more importantly buying from you.
Let’s look at some examples of internally focused organizations as examples.
- Delta Airlines
Don’t kid yourself looking at all the advertisements this company uses, they are all about their planes and their systems. I have watched this organization create mistake after mistake with their customers with little care and definitely no direct interaction to correct anything. This airline has become a commodity based airline and they are number one according to size only. Oh, yes, forget about making connections through their Atlanta hub unless you have a five hour layover – then you might make a connection.
- Cable Companies
We will be there something during the day! No appointment or window of time. I guess the person who sets the schedules for interaction with their customers believes it is still the 1950’s era and someone is at home all day. Announcement to cable companies everywhere – most people have jobs and will have to take off from work to – wait for you! Join the new century of connectivity and customer awareness.
- Phone Company (ATT)
I know this is too easy to pick on the land line phone systems, but they continue to follow rules established probably in the 1950’s when they had a monopoly and didn’t have to think about customers at all.
- Fill in the blank with your own example.
I hear people complaining everyday about some type of injustice or just plain stupid act on the part of some decision process on the part of an company or organization. Think about the cause – internally focused will win 99% of the time.
Then they are the externally focused companies who focus upon making their customers the center of attention as they build their brand.
They have built an outstanding company based entirely on the customer needs and satisfaction. Others – those internally focused companies – said it would not work and their costs would be too high. So their customers just kept buying and telling others about this wonderful company. And the rest is history.
Need to speak to anyone around the world? Skype can get it done for you without worrying about compatibility issues or strange internal focused policies. In fact, they offered all kinds of options to enhance the customer experience. Of course, they got too successful and now they have been purchased by Microsoft so the jury will be out regarding the future of this service. Microsoft has a history of damaging good products with Internal Driven proprietary garbage which damages the customers experience.
- Fill in the Blank with your favorite Customer Focused Company or Service
The key point here is to look at your company (and your focus) and determine the ratio of time spent looking inward at your own operations and then the amount of time and energy spent focusing on the customer. Balance is usually a good thing and I will agree that balance in this situation is a favorable activity.
The important thing to know is if you are above 90% in either direction you will have issues. Take a survey of key people and learn how they envision the ratio. Then have discussions about the impact upon your organization’s performance and relationships with customers.
By the way, if you have NO brand presence, it is usually because of an inwardly focus of time and energy. There is no time to devote to creating a positive customer experience – which in turn creates your real brand perception.