Unless Wall Street undergoes a miraculous transformation and starts rewarding companies for their long-term strategies instead of almost exclusively for their short-term results, putting energy into hard-to-measure marathon plays such as lifetime customer value, earned media, and emerging markets will feel like a struggle, and even a risky proposition, to a lot of companies. The irony is that when executed properly, these marathons can reap dividends in a relatively short amount of time.
The stars in this business era will be those who are consumed with their work (and happy about it) and have the patience to pursue one small victory at a time. This new economy offers tremendous opportunities to develop huge markets, strengthen brands, or build lasting businesses, provided you work for them with the intensity of Rocky Balboa training for his Cold War showdown in the snow-covered Soviet countryside. You’re in trouble only if you find that pill too hard to swallow.
Once a company is up and rolling and has a few rounds of financing under its belt, it can typically throw a stick and hit a lawyer/accountant/consultant. But, when they are just starting out and are cranking code in their parent’s basement, they barely have money for ramen, much less advisors.
You can talk to a customer who bothers to complain. If you think it’s warranted, you can apologize. If you wish, you can explain yourself or ask for a second chance. At the very least, you can make it public record that you do not take anyone’s dissatisfaction lightly.
The biggest disconnect for business leaders lies in their understanding of how they should treat customers they meet face-to-face, and how they should treat the ones they meet through their computer, iPad, or phone. There should be no difference.
In some organizations, getting legal approval for a tweet can take twelve to thirty-six hours. Are you kidding me? By the time that vetted post finally makes it to the customer, the conversation and the relationship have sailed.
It’s no different from the married woman who comes home from having a fun night of after-work drinks with a colleague to find her husband so immersed in his video game he can’t even break away to ask her about her day. Is it any wonder that she eventually falls for the other guy? As it goes in life, so it goes in business. You have to keep working at every relationship in your life, whether personal or professional.
The first thing that makes an employee happy is being treated like an adult. That means that until people prove that they can’t be trusted, they should be allowed to manage their job as they see fit.
The second is feeling that his or her individual needs are being met.