Defining an organization’s culture as a “Family” culture reflects tolerance to subpar performance. Rather focus on those characteristics of a “family” culture that you want.
In discussions with some of my clients, I have asked if they are reaching out to their customers directly, CEO to CEO. Some are, but some respond that everyone is so busy at the moment, they are just leaving them alone. I think this is a mistake.
Yes, we are all busy, and stressed. However, if you accept that how you act over this period will define you for the next ten years, then I think reaching out is a great investment. But don’t get me wrong, this is not about call up asking for an order. Rather, operate empathy-first. Ask how they are doing, is everyone in their family safe and well. Tell them what you are doing to get through this and what can you do to make their life easier. Prioritize in-depth relationships with customers and focus on quality over quantity, as we all know we should do when it comes to relationships.
You may find they are stress and have no one to talk to because they are the CEO. Talking, sharing ideas, being empathetic, and just listening may be the greatest thing you can do for them now. I remember a story my father told me when he had just started his industrial catering business. One day he at his largest and most important client, he stopped and asked a young junior executive how his meal was and was there anything he could get him as the young man seemed unhappy. The young man thanked my father and shared that he was anxious as his child had been taken seriously ill My father sat with him for an hour during my father’s busiest time of the day just listening to the young man talk. About twenty years later, that young man was promoted to CFO of this organization. My father sent him a bottle of champagne to congratulate him. The executive sent back a note which said, “I have never forgotten the lunch you spent with me when I was a nobody and was anxious about my son. The contract is yours for as long as you want it and I am here.”
Customers will remember how you treat them now and may do for ten plus years. A few calls is a small investment.
Copyright (c) 2020, Marc A. Borrelli
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