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Do You Put Clients Last? 10 Ways You May Be 
Failing Your Customers (and the One Way to Put Them First)

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Here, Callaway shares 10 ways in which you may be inadvertently failing your customers.

1. You believe your number-one business goal is to make money. Ummm…isn’t that the point of running a company? you might be asking. Well, it’s a point, says Callaway, but it’s not the point. A too-acute focus on improving the bottom line takes your attention off of the people who are going to enable you to raise it: your customers. Your clients can always tell when they’re not your first priority. (If you’re skeptical, just consider the backlash that often occurs when small businesses are bought out and transformed by larger, more impersonal corporations.)

“The difference between paying attention to service so that your clients will give you more business and doing so because serving the customer is your first priority may feel slight, but it’s significant,” Callaway promises. “Taking your focus off the bottom line may feel uncomfortable at first. But you’ll soon find that when you focus on how best to serve clients, tough decisions make themselves. If it serves the client, you do it. If it doesn’t, you don’t—even if you make less money. This neutralizes moral dilemmas and really simplifies your life. And it can have a miracle effect on your growth and success.”

2. You let the little things slide. As a business owner, there are a lot of “big” things you’d never neglect. For example, you wouldn’t lock up for the night without making sure that your restaurant’s kitchen was thoroughly cleaned, and you wouldn’t allow your accountancy office’s college intern to prepare a client’s taxes. However, you might not be such a stickler for what you believe are “smaller things.” Rushing through paperwork so you can get home early, failing to spellcheck an email or two, and running late to a meeting probably won’t matter that much six months from now, you think. But that’s not necessarily the case, says Callaway.

“So often in life, it’s the small details that differentiate ‘good’ from ‘great,’” he says. “And make no mistake: If it impacts a customer’s happiness, best interests, comfort level, or anything else even the slightest bit, it’s not a ‘little’ thing. When you fail to get the small details right, you fail to truly put customers first. On the other hand, promises kept, deadlines met, little extra flourishes, and small acts of kindness add up to happy clients.

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