These 2 videos are worth watching and go well with Michael Winston’s commentary.
Total Customer Dissatisfaction
By Michael G. Winston
The manner in which you treat customers is always a source of great differentiation and potential competitive advantage. Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business. Good customer service is all about bringing customers back. Sending them away happy to share positive feedback about your business with others who may then try your product or service and become repeat customers.
Like an Olympic athlete seeking to score better than determined world rivals, Motorola Inc. of the late ’80’s and 90’s sought victories in world markets for electronic components and equipment by improving the quality of its own performance. For Motorola, quality improvement leading to Total Customer Satisfaction was the key.
In 1987, Motorola launched an ambitious drive for a tenfold improvement in the quality of its products and services. Motorola succeeded. Now, the company had evidence that many of its products and services were the best in their class. Looking ahead, Motorola set its sights on topping its achievements – further gains in quality for 1989, yet another leap in 1991, and near perfection a year later. The company’s quality goal was simply stated: “Zero defects in everything we do.”
Motorola’s managers literally carried with them the corporate objective of “Total Customer Satisfaction.” It was on a printed card in their pockets, with the TCS always capitalized. Corporate officials and business managers wore pagers to make themselves available to customers, and they regularly visited customers’ businesses to find out their likes and dislikes about Motorola products and services. The information, along with data gathered through an extensive network of customer surveys, complaint hotlines, field audits, and other customer feedback measures, informed planning for quality improvement and product or service development. Companies around the world followed suit.
There was a time when banks took this to heart and were an example of excellence in action. I remember the days when bankers worked hard to protect and preserve the image of integrity, fair dealing and good citizenship. In fact, they were regarded as fine, upstanding citizens of the community. At most banks the mantra was “The customer always comes first. The Bank will develop relationships with customers based upon reputation, honesty and service.” Bankers wanted to be seen as trusted advisors.
Now, however, public opinion confirms that the financial services industry is held in low esteem and is not deemed trustworthy. As an example, Bank of America has suffered huge damage to its reputation. When did this sea change happen? How did it happen? Never did I imagine the day would come when the CEO of a firm carrying the name Bank of America, would proudly proclaim that bond investors should “lace up your gloves,”: Bank of America is embroiled in “day-to-day, hand-to-hand combat” with anybody who wants money back on poorly assembled mortgage securities, according to CEO Brian Moynihan as reported by Reuters. This is not the rhetoric one would expect of a Fortune 100 CEO.
Speaking at an investor conference, Mr. Moynihan vowed to get rough with Fannie Mae, bond insurers and others who are irate with BAC for selling them faulty mortgages. At a recent global town hall meeting the Bank of America CEO expressed his frustration about all the criticism his bank has been getting lately. Mr. Moynihan says all the bad mouthing leaves him feeling “incensed”, according to a report from Bloomberg News.
How sad. Mr. Moynihan is missing an incredible opportunity to be a force for good not evil. This scorched-earth routine engaged by BAC has resulted in incalculable ill will, plummeting market capitalization and nose-diving stock price. Bank of America is now regarded as the one of the worst financial services companies.
Perhaps it is time, Mr. Moynihan, to say you are sorry for all the havoc wrecked by Countrywide; to acknowledge that CFC lost their business deservedly; to recognize that you/ BAC did not and could not know that you were being duped by CFC which failed to disclose the extent of their corruption to you; to promise that you/ BAC will try to make amends and that you intend to treat customers and prospective customers with dignity and respect. After the losses you, personally and BAC organizationally have sustained, what would it cost you?
As a cost-saving measure, you might even try to make whole the customers who were duped as you were. That’s correct…full restitution. In this way you can fulfill your stated objective of looking after your customers, shareholders, employees and taxpayers.
Full restitution may restore BAC to its former glory, Mr. Moynihan. Wouldn’t that be a better legacy than continuing to harm the middle class? As Waters states, the tide is turning. The corporation which catch this wave will find that people want to do business with companies that have integrity. The world is watching.