A Baffling Double Standard
Here’s one that has confounded me for a long time. Maybe you can help me wrap my head around it:
Why do so many companies provide such terrible customer experience when their leaders more or less dwell in five-star service themselves?
Say you’re CEO of a sizable company. Chances are you’re making $5 million, $8 million, $12 million dollars a year or more. When you travel, you stay in the finest hotels, where they spoil you rotten. You fly only first class, or maybe you have your own jet and your own flight crew. You have a company limo with a chauffeur whenever you need it. You live in a mansion or a penthouse, and you have servants. Someone shops for you, except when you need a new suit: then the tailor and his assistants come to you and fit you in your office.
Every minute of every day, you are being treated like a monarch. You understand top-notch customer service because you receive it all day every day.
…And yet your customers cannot say the same. No one spoils them. Often, no one at your company is even nice to them! You make them wait in lines at your stores or branches. Calling your company is one of the most frustrating experiences they’ll face all month. Your sales people beat them up in contract negotiation, or stalk them, or both; the fine print in your contracts would make the Devil blush for its audacity. And because you abuse your employees as badly as you do your customers, they flee quickly, which means your customers never deal with the same person twice.
This discrepancy, between the five-star experience as a customer that most C-level executives live, and the two- or three-star service their companies foist on their customers, has always bewildered me.
Can any CEOs out there explain it? I am truly at a loss on this one.
Graphic by Shawn Murphy