We were audited recently. No, not by the IRS. But our company contracts with another company to do surprise visits and evaluate our stores. They grade things like how well the store looks, displays that are correctly merchandised, wall sections that are in their proper place, not having expired products, etc. They judge the store from the customers’ perspective and give us a score. A perfect score of 100 is the goal. However, we know that we will not, in most cases, achieve the 100.
Because we’ve settled for less than perfect, that’s why. We’ve decided that as a company, we don’t want to deliver the best to our customers. We sent a memo to all employees outlining our new company philosophy. We are to fear the audit and the auditor. We must try to please the auditor and only the auditor. We must devote all of our time to making sure we do not displease the audit gods. We would not want to upset the auditor on their two yearly visits.
There was no memo. There was no communication from management that said we are to kowtow to the will of the auditor. Yet there are a number of companies whose focus and drive are only to achieve a perfect score on their review. They do this at the expense of truly focusing on their customers. Yes, we say we want to have a customer focused operation. But how many of us practice that day-to-day?
Do you realize that your customers audit you every day? They give you a grade but it’s based on product assortment, quality, price, employee knowledge and WIIFM . . . what’s in it for me. If we realized and believed that EVERYTHING we do is about our customer all the time, customers would be beating down the doors trying to get a piece of the action.
Recognize that your customers are your best and worst auditors. Focus on them using established policies, procedures and practices and you might lose them. Focus on your customers by doing what is best for them and you might have to rewrite the policies, procedures and practices.
A = All
U = You
D = Do
I = Is for
T = Them