Why would an organization be outrageous enough to want to create a “bully culture”?
We all know the implications of bullying – intimidation, abuse, harassment and Intimidation.
People who are bullied suffer horrendously at the hands of the tormentor.
If you have a strategy to serve customers remarkably, however, being a “bully” is actually a status earned through having a strong, deep and intimate relationship with your customers.
Being able to get away with bully behaviour is the result of serving customers in an exemplary manner.
Bullies are accepted by customers because the organization has earned the right through a trusted history of consistently amazing service to have a momentary lapse without having the customer go postal and switch to another supplier.
Customers overlook “behavioural blips” because they are overshadowed by many memorable and fun moments.
A bully culture can be a significant strategic advantage over an organization that CAN’T bully their customers because they haven’t built the service currency to do so.
These 5 actions will allow you to “mistreat” your customers and leave your competition in the dust.
1. Put in the time
New customers can’t be “beaten up” through borderline actions; organizations don’t earn automatic forgiveness for screw ups when relationships are just beginning.
Quality time MUST be spent with a customer to gain their trust and establish a acceptance level for downstream mistakes which invariably happen in all organizations. Leaders must set the expectations that minimizing the time spent with a customer is off strategy; spending as much time as needed to understand their longer term needs is THE critical element of the organization’s plan.
2. Pay close attention to the details
Learn the customer’s innermost secrets rather than be satisfied with understanding of only their basic needs. Ask questions. Take notes. Always be in the learning mode.
And be the master of the “nano-chat” when engaging with a customer with time limitations; discover as many insights about each one of them in terms of what they want, desire and covet. Remember that satisfying “needs” in today’s competitive markets is not good enough to build customer loyalty; if you don’t play to their emotional side they will find another game.
3. Gain momentum in consistently serving them well
Invest in building a service delivery system that provides customers with the same high level of service 24X7. If the organization’s “A” serving game is not brought to every customer engagement, spotty hit and miss treatment will sponsor distrust and they will NEVER be ok with bully treatment.
4. Make it about a conversation and an engagement, NOT a sale or transaction
Constantly flogging products and services at a customer is short term thinking, and leaves the impression with the customer that making a sale is the top priority for the organization and that relationships are secondary.
This is an anti-bully strategy; relationship building activity can be relied on to create a customer willing to tolerate ups and downs in service delivered to them. When a customer FEELS good about the relationship they have with their supplier, their emotional guard is lowered and their sensitivity to being screwed over by the organization is reduced.
5. Have a service recovery strategy
When service mistakes are made, and an organization recovers well, the customer soon forgets being screwed over but fondly remembers – and tells others – what was done to recover from the OOPS!
A bully culture has the “fix it and surprise them” core competency that turns angry customers into raving fans with a high tolerance for service mishaps.
The bully culture metaphor is a powerful way to express the benefits of building an organization that will do almost anything to maintain a strong relationship with each of its customers and, as a result, have a loyal “tribe” that is the envy of their competitors.
Roy Osing is a former President and CMO with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.
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