The wellbeing of your business depends on the way your company interacts with its customers. This sounds obvious, but many companies—large and small, unknown and well-known—do not act that way.

Your customer-facing interactions can make or break your business

Make no mistake about it. Your customer-facing employees are your face to the customer. When they are eager to help, your business seems helpful. When they respond quickly, your company appears efficient. When they're knowledgeable and well-informed, your organization seems customer focused.

On the other hand, when your customer-facing personnel are surly, uninterested, or ignorant, your company seems unfriendly, arrogant, or out of touch.

Lost in the Translation

Most companies have a policy that puts the customer first, but too often that policy isn't implemented by the people on the front lines.

Why? Sometimes the company rewards behavior that is the exact opposite of what the organization preaches. For example, companies might compensate call center personnel on the number of calls handled per hour, while touting a policy of effectively solving tough customer issues.

In other cases, angry personnel might take out their aggressions on customers. Anyone who has flown a U.S.-based airline over the last few years has likely been subjected to surly flight attendants and ground personnel. As airlines continue to cut costs, the employees are displaying their frustration. These same airlines now charge for amenities (such as snacks) that used to be "free," and tell customers that flight attendants are there only for safety, not to provide customer service.

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image of Linda Popky

Linda J. Popky is principal at Leverage2Market Associates. A strategic marketing expert, she is the author of the new book Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage With Marketing That Matters.

LinkedIn: Linda Popky

Twitter: @popky