Photo by Tara Winstead
“A visionary company is one which is seen growing in a consistent pattern by being goal-oriented driven by a vision and a mission” – Henrietta Newton Martin
Customers are the pivot around which businesses revolve and no business can exist without them. It makes sense to then include them in the mission statement of your company – the aspect of any business that allows it to remain focused on what truly counts. A mission statement guides the way a company functions day-to-day. It also guides the kind of strategic decisions made for the business.
It puts down the manner in which a business should function. For a company to make itself known as customer-centric, customers should be a vital part of the mission statement. It should encapsulate the essence of a company’s business and its goals. In short yet crisp sentences, anyone reading it understands what the company stands for and its principles with regard to its customers and other stakeholders. You can use interactive decision trees to deliver the right information to your customers.
It puts customers at the center of business goals
Customers like to deal with companies that put them at the center of everything. By including customers in the mission statement, what a company portrays is that it primarily thinks of its customers. Everyone in the company is geared towards the fulfillment of customer needs. A company’s mission statement, therefore, cannot stay the same. When the mission statement includes customers, it is bound to change, since customer needs and expectations are not static.
They continue to change and evolve. In addition, a company’s own goals and objectives may change over time. It’s mandatory to change/alter the mission statement for it to align it with the overall company strategy of the company. A stale, outdated, or irrelevant mission statement will most likely get a company rejected outright. Not just by customers, but also by employees and other stakeholders. Fine-tuning and revisiting the statement will ensure that it remains in sync with customers and the company’s goals.
It highlights every aspect of the business
An effective mission statement highlights every facet of the business. Customers are an integral and crucial part of any business. Strengthening relationships with customers is a clear path to growth, profitability, and enhanced reputation. This, in turn, attracts the best employees, suppliers, vendors, and even investors. It allows the company to stand out amongst its best competitors. When customers feel like they are part of a company – not just a means to earn for the company – they tend to stick with it.
They buy repeatedly and encourage others to ‘experience’ the company. When customers are able to perceive a match in the set of values between them and a company, they are more likely to remain loyal. By including customers in the mission statement, a company announces its intention to consistently address the emotional and logical needs of its customers. They are committed to ensuring that everyone in the company understands their duty to provide top-class service.
It creates a strong connection
A company’s mission statement would usually have something in it for everyone – especially employees. By including these ‘customer’ groups, a company increases the opportunities to build and strengthen a connection between its external and internal customers. When employees remain committed to providing the best for customers, the company becomes successful. It in turn spells success for each person in it. Including customers in the mission statement is a strong and unwavering message for all with regard to the importance of customers and the experiences they have with the company. A company that can steadfastly attain this balance is more likely to succeed. Customers proudly speak about their association with it.
Brings out the humane side of the company
The message is clear. Customers expect the company to make them feel important. They are happy being at the center of everything a company does. This is one of the top emotional needs. By including customers in the mission statement, a company is instantly able to address this need. As mentioned earlier, it should remain mindful of changing this statement to not only reflect its business culture but also to encompass the evolving customer needs. For a mission statement to have the desired effect on customers, the language used must be all-encompassing.
It emphasizes the connection between customers and the company’s objectives. This inclusive language makes the mission statement strong and believable. It emphasizes any promises the company may have made to customers (and to employees). By including customers, a company is actually telling them that without their support and contribution, it would not be able to deliver. As a result, it would not remain successful. This display of dependence shows the humane side of the company and makes the relationship more real.
A company receives more
In the current world scenario, companies that have a focus on ‘giving back’ would benefit by including customers in the mission statement. That also reflects the manner in which it would want to add value to the world. Companies with a strong focus on corporate social responsibility are easily dependable. As a result, it attracts the best employees who are better equipped to serve customers with dedication and commitment. Almost every company would have a large and diverse group of customers and other stakeholders connected with it.
Companies that serve customers well are able to increase their capabilities to satisfy the needs and expectations of other stakeholders. It enhances their reputation and gives them a top position in the market. The message is clear. By keeping customers as the pivot, a company achieves a lot more than it set out to gain.
Solicit ideas from customers and employees
It is by no means easy to prepare the ‘perfect’ or even an effective mission statement. It takes time, effort, and a lot of hard work. It’s prudent to include customers in the mission statement. Seek their advice and opinion on the exact words and message it should convey. A company could also solicit views from its employees and other stakeholders, such that the message is all-inclusive. Each ‘partner’ group perceives something of value. It’s safe to then assume that a company’s performance and market success is possibly defined by its efforts at the start – ‘speaking’ about the need for all partners to support it and what the company expects to do about its promises for each of them.
As mentioned, organizations exist because of customers. It is their duty to ensure that they satisfy customer needs and meet their demands. Therefore, from this perspective, we cannot overemphasize the need to include customers in the mission statement. You cannot undermine their role in the success or even existence of a company. There is no greater competitive advantage today for a company than to have a customer base that is loyal and profitable.
The purpose of a mission statement is to provide strategic direction to a company, irrespective of industry, size, and stature. Failure to include the major stakeholder – the customer, along with other stakeholders, can prove to be the undoing of a company. It could result in its failure. The challenge some companies still face is understanding the crucial place a mission statement holds in assisting its development and success. Therefore, an effective mission statement should include customers and all other major stakeholders. It’s essential if the statement provides direction and better the overall performance of the company.