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Wealth creation via the Mortgage Market Guide

National Mortgage Professional
May 22, 2007

A top-down approach to customer satisfactionRyan Floriosense of purpose, management, tips, train employees Growing up in a predominantly middle-class environment put all of my friends from high school on an even playing field. It never seemed that anyone had any significant advantages over the rest of us, since it appeared that we all had the same basic lifestyle; we were all being fed on a daily basis and could afford to wear clothes we thought were reasonably cool. Occasionally, we were allowed to borrow our parents' car for an important date, and this made us cooler than most - at least for a day. Looking back, I see now that our parents or caretakers were our first true managers. Because while simple appearances masked the differences we were experiencing at home, it was truly the standards our parents were setting for us behind the scenes that would shape our characters and communicate our values to the world. It started becoming apparent after high school that the self-respect we developed at home would affect our choices and the quality of the rest of our lives. I started making the comparison of effective parenting to good management when I began consulting businesses on their customer service practices. It's always clear when the owners and managers have given their employees a strong sense of purpose. These firms set an expectation of customer satisfaction and performance that is communicated to every employee from top-level managers to administrators. And ultimately, this sense of dignity is reflected in the profitability of the business and shared with all of its members. Today, most companies open their doors with a strong focus on sales as a primary vehicle for their success. Continually increasing sales are imperative, but this can only truly occur if customer satisfaction is achieved. In companies where sales are declining, most will put greater effort into advertising and prospecting. Unfortunately, these efforts are limited if there is no system in place to monitor where your company stands in the eyes of its customers. Such a system enables companies to continually improve and adjust, while creating greater and greater value for your customers, your employees and your company's services. To avoid the risk of declining customer satisfaction, consider the following systems when establishing your business practices: 1. Top management, through its actions, must show that customer satisfaction is important Start by doing an honest review of current services and acknowledge the areas that aren't working. As painful as it may be to admit, growth won't occur until top managers are willing to address shortcomings and limitations. Offices that are thriving have managers who lead by example. 2. Create a plan to change methods of operation Once you've identified the problems, involve employees and management in the process of planning new procedures that reflect the new mission and standards of the office. Be sure to make the procedures specific and have a system in place to measure the results of the proposed changes. Involving all employees to actively participate in the planning process will initiate a greater sense of ownership and responsibility. 3. Recognize employees who contribute to customers' satisfaction In doing so, you are validating your commitment to new policies and procedures. This is an effective and inexpensive way to foster company morale and reinforce positive behavior. When rewarding employees, choose experiences that are worthy of recognition, so that others may learn from their example. 4. Train employees from the point of hire Invest the necessary resources to teach your employees about customer satisfaction and how this philosophy is implemented in your business strategies. Provide them with clear expectations and outline how performance will be measured and rewarded with incentive programs. The old adage, "An apple doesn't fall far from its tree," can be applied to any community we belong to, including our business environments and workplace. If we are to expect good results from our employees and coworkers, we really need to begin by providing a framework of meaningful values and a set of expectations that inspire our companies towards this end. And by laying this groundwork, we can be sure to harvest an abundant future. Ryan Florio is president and CEO of Cleveland-based SpecialClient.com, a Web-based company that offers automated client relationship programs as a vehicle for client retention and business development. He may be reached at (216) 598-0934 or e-mail [email protected]
Published
May 22, 2007
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