Maintaining Customer Focus During Turbulent Times

Our world is full of crisis. How can we stay focused on our customers?

We’ve all seen the news go from bad to worse. Some of it, like the political rhetoric, we expected as the presidential election nears. Some of it, like the global financial crisis, we did not. Both issues are taking away the attention of our customers, making it imperative that we try to keep our customers, as well as our own employees, focused on concrete things they can do. In short, provide leadership and perspective through calm action.

One thing I found useful was a summary of stock market upward swings that took place after every major marketplace downturn in history. (E-mail me and I’ll send it to you.) It helps calm nerves and reminds us to keep a long-term perspective. The worst thing we can do is overreact to the news of the day.

Another message I like to repeat is that now is the time to continue to do the best we can with the basics of our businesses. Let your competitors wring their hands and gyrate, while we “stick to our knitting.” Remain focused on continuous improvement in all areas of our businesses.

No Free Fall
I also like to remind folks that we have a large role in reassuring our customers, just as we, in turn, look for assurances from our suppliers. In spite of the news hype, the world as we know it isn’t in an economic free fall.

Finally, there’s no substitute for visibility. Your employees and customers will be reassured by the presence and visibility of management. What you do, as always, is as important as what you say. Be especially conscious of your actions now as you calmly go about your business.

The rest of the year looks like it’ll be tumultuous. Remember, your leadership is what’s needed most.

Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes@b2bdmi.com or (954) 383-5221 (direct line).

Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services B2B catalog company clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes @ b2bdmi.com or (954) 383-5221

Comments or questions are welcome.

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