Henry Ford was about much more than just building cars. As one of the first corporate moguls of the 20th century, he set the production, marketing, and customer service standards for American business. Ford was aware that businesses who only focused on the bottom line could not thrive. His organizational structure hinged on the idea that the customer formed the core of a business’s success. Henry Ford once said, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” As evidenced by the multi-billion dollar company he founded, this relationship-building attitude provides many lessons for our customer-focused business culture.
- “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.”
It’s easy for businesses to start laying the blame when transactions fail. For example, when a customer complains about receiving a product that was clearly ordered by mistake, blaming the customer does not build a strong relationship.
Instead of turning the interaction into one filled with conflict and resentment, show solid customer service and problem-solving skills. Don’t make bigger sacrifices than your bottom line can handle, but try to provide a positive solution that you can both agree on. In the above example, a business could send the customer the correct item and offer a small discount on their next purchase. While the fault may lie with the customer, they will leave with positive feelings and you will save time.
- “A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.”
Customers can immediately tell if your business values customer service. Rather than focus customer service on a handful of employees or a single department, make it a part of the daily standards and practices of the company. Create training programs and participate in seminars that help your employees understand the process of your business and how it relates to customers. Allow employees time to get to know their customers’ needs, and encourage creative problem-solving in order to help customers feel appreciated and heard. Customers are the ones who keep your business running, so making them an active, valuable part of your sales process will help you do sustainable business.
- “Any color – so long as it’s black.”
Henry Ford was famous for only building his cars in one color: black. While this might seem narrow-minded to some, this illustrates the importance of focusing on what works. By keeping variance small, you can identify what is working well for your business and repeat the process. Companies which can identify what is bringing the most value to customers for the best company profit have a pattern for success that can be replicated instantly. Focus on your target customers and what motivates them to buy, then provide them products that will meet their needs at a price that will keep them loyal to your business.