He spent a great deal of his time talking with customers, if not in his office then at the customer's location. Whether the customer was an individual depositor or a business owner, my Dad made sure each one was treated respectfully and as a valued customer.
While for a time it seemed like an old-fashioned view, he never lost sight of how important it is to have that trusted friend relationship with customers.
I have spoken with a great many CEOs and executives of companies in the last three years, and one trend I have found, especially in the last year, is a renewed focus on customer relationships. Let's face it, in this day and age, it's hard for any business to stand out from the competition.
Most companies can offer great products; what customers are looking for now is a company and people they can trust. Take banking as a great example. You can get a free, no-fee checking account at just about any bank. But when you enter the bank, does the teller know your name?
What has been missing in many businesses over the last few years is that feeling that you have a relationship with the people you do business with.
If your business can reinstate that feeling, you may earn a tremendous advantage over your competitors. For example, there are many companies that offer eye care and glasses. My family goes to a local eye doctor for those services. We could go to larger big-box stores or national chains and receive the same services, probably at better prices. But at this place, I feel "known" and my business valued -- and I also trust the company.
So don't overlook the importance of relationships, Any company can benefit from reinvesting in them -- now.