Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Billy Bauer.

About the interviewee

Billy Bauer, Marketing Director, Royce Leather

Billy Bauer has been the Marketing Director at Royce Leather for over 5 years. A graduate of McGill University and HEC Paris, Billy has been widely cited as a B2B marketing expert by several industry publications.

Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).

26 employees – Secaucus, NJ – department stores and eCommerce websites

Tell us about what it means to you to “put customers first”?

Feedback is a gift. Even behind the most negative review is a genuine desire on the part of the customer to want things to be better and an opportunity for your business to step up. Take time to listen to what customers are saying, read the customer comments or note what problems come up frequently.

Experiencing customer-facing roles provides a level of understanding that can’t always be conveyed in a business meeting or through a memo. Spend an afternoon working the sales counter or taking customer calls. Ask yourself: How is what I’m doing having an impact on the customer?

What mistake do businesses make when it comes to taking care of customers?

Some companies try to focus on maximizing revenues, promoting their brands, and other goals, and the customer becomes just one of many considerations.

Many business experts recommend firing bad customers in order to focus more attention on the better customers–the ones who really help make your business a success. I strongly disagree. You never know when a good customer will become a bad one or vice versa. It’s not our job to fire customers, it’s their job to fire us if we don’t do things right.

What is your firm doing to demonstrate your beliefs in this principle?

To create a customer-centered mindset, thinking about customers needs to be incorporated into the everyday – post pictures in meeting rooms of your customers or have customers share their experiences with the team. Do you have a great customer story that might inspire your team?

I start every Monday morning meeting by sharing a real customer story. Talking about the customer is now so engrained at Royce Leather that every new project has team members asking “How does this affect the customer?” And that helps the team focus on what matters.