Straight to the top

Here’s a question for company leaders: Would you put your personal email at the very top of every customers’ bill?

The answer might depend on how many customers you’ve got, but if their number is into the thousands, then you’d probably be a bit hesitant – life’s full of clutter as it is, who needs more?

But not Tom Mazerski, the new chief executive of telco junior Primus Australia.

In a bid to improve the company’s customer service levels, he will put his personal email address on the top of all customer bill and encourage customers who have a complaint to contact him directly.

He’s promised to investigate every complaint and if there are found to be internal problems, jobs could be on the line.

“We are building a whole new company with a whole new business processes that will leave everyone else in the dust,” he told the Australian Financial Review.

“Everyone’s new role as of this morning is to grow and take care of customers.”

I love the symbolism of Mazerski’s email move and I love the message that it sends to the rest of his business – everyone is committed to improving customer service, and no one is more committed than the CEO.

But I can just hear entrepreneurs fretting about the practicalities of such a move.

How much of Mazerski’s time will be tied up dealing with these issues? Isn’t that what customer service teams are for? How can the CEO be expected to lead when they are focused on what is the minutia of business?

I can understand these arguments.

But I would also point out that while many CEOs talk about building customer-centric businesses, leaders can find that as their company grows so too does the distance between them and their customers.

Mazerski’s relatively simple tactic is an attempt to break down this barrier. I am also sure he’ll have plenty of support to help him deal with all his new correspondence.

His initiative should be a catalyst for entrepreneurs to consider how much distance they put between them and their customers.

How accessible are you? How regularly are you getting feedback from the most important people in your business? What could you change to become more in touch?

I’ll leave you with the thoughts of Mark Cuban, a US billionaire and serial entrepreneur who has a very specific view.

“In every business I have had, I have made sure my customers have had my email address and can reach me directly,” Cuban told Entrepreneur.com.

“I’ve given my email address out on national TV. Customers of any of our businesses can and do email me with questions and comments. Each and every email is an opportunity for me to solidify a customer relationship or to add a new customer. I’m shocked that more entrepreneurs don’t do the same.”

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