When Zack Johnson landed his tee shot on the 16th green in the third round of the Masters, he was thinking possible birdie; par worse case. Three putts later, the golf professional left with a shocking bogey. Johnson could have made a huge issue out of this mental lapse, but instead he forged ahead.

Then, in the final round, Johnson found himself atop the leaderboard. He had to be thinking 'man, I was just a visitor here a few years ago...now look...' Lurking just a few holes behind him was the number one golfer in the world, Tiger Woods, who is known for snatching victory out of the hands of the lesser knowns. Johnson would have none of that as his steely eyes maintained a constant focus on playing his game.

After slipping on the coveted green jacket, reality set in for Johnson - he had just staged off his competition to win one of the golf's most prestigious events.

In business, we often need to have a focus like Zack Johnson demonstrated in his victory at Augusta. If we lose sight of our objective for a moment, we too, may walk away from a certain opportunity with utter disappointment. It can happen fast and sometimes before we recognize it.

Competitors can be vicious and stealth-like. Take Zack Johnson's example and keep your eye on winning the prize. No doubt, that green jacket must have felt great.

Like many of you, I've been amazed to watch customer service drop to all time low levels over the past 20 years. Back in the day when I was bagging groceries to cover my expenses, we were taught that the customer is always right. Always? Yep. Don't question it. Try that today. In fact, it's nearly the opposite where businesses somehow think they are right - no matter what.

Have businesses forgotten where their revenues come from? Here's a hint: the customer. OK, that was a big hint. But, walk into a retail establishment and it seems half the time one is left feeling they were a bother to the employees of the business. How dare a willing spender of cash think for a second that they are to be dealt with in a respectful, friendly and courteous manner!

And it isn't limited to the consumer market. Nope. Many corporations struggle with delivering meaningful exchanges with clients - that is, paying clients. It is amazing that one has to really dig around and look under a few layers before finding a business that really seems to care about their customers.

Could this be why so many businesses fail? Is the customer, in fact, always right? They may not be, but ignoring or mistreating them will surely cost you. Simply making them feel like they are always right will score points for your business.


Patty Seybold does a masterful job addressing this very issue in her book The Customer Revolution. Visit her blog for discussion points around creating great customer experiences, measure customer value and more.



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