We ARE The Answer!
In the history of the world, few organizations have built a heritage as remarkable as that of the United States Marine Corps. Since its founding in 1775, the Marines have always been the battle-ready answer to those who threaten our country’s freedoms and people. “From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli…” Marines are always the first units on beachheads, in jungles and in hostile territory. This is their mission, one they fulfill with courage, sacrifice and honor. When America asks the question, “Who can we send into danger for the sake of freedom?” the best response has always been “Send in the Marines!”
How has the Corps been able to sustain its status as the most successful fighting force in the history of modern warfare? Simply put, it’s their track record of positive predictability when ordered into action. Members of the Corps understand that, regardless of the occupational specialties they may hold, when ordered into action, every Marine is expected to fulfill the role of Basic Rifleman. When they hump that pack through deep mud and thick jungle as bullets fly overhead, they all understand they are dedicated to performing the duties of the 0311 infantry grunt. In other words, each Marine understands that, within the scope of America’s military objectives, “We are the answer!”
Just like the Marines, you have a responsibility to your clients to ensure that you are the answer. Understanding this is an essential step in building and sustaining a successful organization. There are some crucial concepts that go into this:
- When customers call, it’s because they face a problem or task that they either do not have the expertise, resources or desire to solve or complete on their own. Consider this your initial opportunity to gain the confidence of those customers by assuring them you can supply the answer with ease while providing quality and value.
- While you, as a leader may understand this - especially from a profitability perspective - it’s not a given that your team understands this concept.
- It is essential that as leaders we examine every point of customer contact. Be sure that everyone manning those contact points understands their task is to reinforce the customer’s confidence that your company is the answer.
- In business, saying “Send in the Marines!” is another way of saying, “Capture repeat customers!” Once a customer has confidence that you are indeed the answer - no matter what the problem may be - there is no reason for him to contact anyone else.
- Learn the discipline of sending “value reminders” to your customers. Value reminders are quick positive emails, hopefully with a picture of something on the jobsite that looks really nice, followed by some reaffirming words that lets the client know that not only are you standing guard but that you are honored to do it.
Are we all specialists waiting to supply a prepackaged answer to a template customer? Or are we filling the role of the Basic Rifleman, willing to supply whatever service or action is required to assist a customer in need? When customers encounter a problem, do they think of our company and our people as the answer? Do they think, “Send in Austin Outdoor” or “Send in Cornerstone”? If not, they should. After all, if you aren't the Answer, someone else will be!