Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Does your CEO talk to customers?

We know the names of some CEOs. Some appear approachable, trustworthy and real. But some CEOs are not approachable. Some CEOs do not answer calls. Some CEOs do not talk to customers. Some CEOs are not known to their customers. In some companies the staff is forbidden to mention the name of the CEO to customers. Do you wonder why?

That behavior does not build trust and does not create a positive relationship. So why would a normally intelligent CEO act this way? It makes you wonder.

Some CEOs have good excuses:

“I don’t like talking to customers. They annoy me.”

“I have a business to run. I don’t have time for customers.”

“My customer service people are supposed to protect me from that.”

Some CEOs have trained their staff to respond:

“Oh, you can’t talk to the CEO, he is too important”

“Oh, the president doesn’t talk to people like you”

“The CEO doesn’t talk to the public.”

Should the CEO talk to customers?

Only if you want to build and nurture trust and long term relationships in the marketplace.

If your priority is getting through the next quarter or fighting with your board – go ahead – ignore your customers.

I wonder how often Kenneth Lay (Enron) took customer calls. He had bigger problems. Have you tried to get Conrad Black (Holinger) on the phone recently?

I can’t think of anyone more important than the customer. So whom do you think your CEO should talk to more often?

George Torok
President and Chief Trust Builder

No comments: