Peter Waller, Chief Executive Officer of Corinthian Colleges, was speaking about the recent performance of the organization in terms of its financials late last year (http://seekingalpha.com/article/186144-corinthian-colleges-inc-f2q10-qtr-end-12-31-09-earnings-call-transcript). And one of the key areas he addressed as a part of that discussion was the improvement in student satisfaction.
Before I go further, what this CEO did was to link (early on in his conversation) financial performance to student/customer satisfaction.
To put meat behind his belief in the cause/effect relationships between these two measures of performance, he noted several major initiatives focused on driving increases in student satisfaction such as: ‘Major increases in faculty development, increased investment in student services personnel, investments in new technology in the classroom, and increased wireless bandwidth at the campuses.’ He stated that "We will continue to focus on creating an outstanding experience to students at every campus and every program. We believe that if our students are satisfied and find value in our services; we will continue to grow and ultimately create value for shareholders."
This is a leader who understands the link between satisfaction and financial performance. He measures that link. He invests in those things which should drive up student satisfaction, knowing how that impacts business success. He gets it.
Many leaders discuss the importance of customer service. But do they measure it? Do they make strategic decisions which may – short-term – cost money or require resources? Do they change operations, processes, and people to improve student or customer satisfaction because they understand the link to profits?
If the answers in your organization are "No, No, and No," then your leaders may need to gain a better understanding of what truly drives long-term success.
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Great blog entry. I’d love to hear Peter Waller. We often call this the service profit chain and it’s hard to find leaders willing to stand up behind it.