When something isn’t right at a business, usually you tend to find that the person viewed as responsible takes the fall.
So, for example, a marketing campaign that fails could be tied back to the agency, or Marketing Director, or team lead. Similarly, a new employee appointment that turns sour can be traced back to HR, or the manager that interviewed the candidate for the position.
Yet, while there’s definitely accountability to be taken by those directly in the front line, there’s (increasingly) also the option of some accountability and involvement going back to the top, at CEO level.
Pipe dream? Maybe. Unrealistic? Maybe. But it can be (and is) done on a growing basis. And when the CEO takes an active role, everyone benefits.
The Ford Example
My friend Marc Girolimetti will always be happy to tell his Ford experience if you ask him and, given the story, rightly so.
Marc was in the market for a new car, and as a staunch Audi supporter until then, was looking to release from the German manufacturer again. Unfortunately, the local dealer wasn’t great, to say the least. So Marc looked around.
He noticed Scott Monty talking about “the new Ford” a lot on Twitter, and decided to check out their cars for himself. Again, though, he had a less than stellar experience at two local Ford dealers.
So, for fun, he tweeted Scott and advised he was in the market for a new Ford and asked him to get Alan Mulally (the Ford CEO) to call him to discuss. And guess what? Call him he did. That’s led to a great relationship and loyalty between Marc and Ford, and probably over $250k in sales from Marc’s referrals.
It’s Not Easy, But It Can Be Done
Now, I’m a realist. I know CEO’s are busy people, and they hire smart folks like Scott to do the work that they can’t do themselves, due to time constraints and other business needs.
But knowing exactly what your customers are thinking, and acting on it, doesn’t (shouldn’t) need to be left to the front line folks all the time.
Sure, they’re the guys that can often dictate a business’s success from their reactions and actions. But they can only do so much.
Often, the real change comes from the very top, or at least the power to make the change real. And, as Ford’s experience shows, having an active CEO immediately adds another bow to your business arrow – especially in the social media-led world we live in, and the public image that can be both created and destroyed in a heartbeat.
Something to keep in mind the next time your customer reaches out to you.