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“An obsession with short-term results will destroy value in any business where it’s allowed to reign unchecked” – Don Peppers - US Author and Customer Service Specialist

The new CEO of Barclays, Anthony Jenkins, got off to a good start by saying the right words about what Barclays, and the other banks, need to do to restore not just the public trust, but also their staff's trust, in what was once an excellent company. He deserves the benefit of the doubt until we see if he really means it.

It reminded me of the above quote by Don Peppers which was made at a conference where he and I were speaking, several years ago now, and well before the world crisis. It is never truer, and goes with another heard often around the same time, along the lines that no company can ‘cut’ its way to long-term success.

These are particularly true points where the organisation realises that real success comes from giving great customer service, and embarks on this journey with commitment and resolve: John Lewis and Tesco would be good examples here. It takes time to make the changes needed in attitude, management direction and even in having the right people to do it – some heads must roll if they are focused on short-term sales and profit goals ahead of longer-term stability and success.

THE top priority for ANY business isn't always what most people think it is. Actually it's to still be around in the future – long term. And yet so few major companies of the 50s and 60s are still here. Why? Well a big factor surely has been their focusing on the wrong, short-term targets whilst forgetting long-term consistency and stability.

When I was with Ford, in the US, I remember some of my colleagues coming back from a visit to Toyota and being introduced to their 100-Year Strategist! This was an incredible insight into our short-term focus on everything, and made a big impact on us. If you haven't got one, there's never a better time to appoint one!

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About Paul Cooper

Until March 2009, Paul had been a director, and one of early team, of the Institute of Customer Service from 1998. During this time, he was responsible at various times for sales, marketing, PR and media. He spent much of his time speaking at conferences and in the media about all aspects of customer service, in the UK and internationally.

Since leaving ICS, Paul continues to carry out speaking engagements, and has become a director of Customer Plus, a UK consultancy led by Richard Beevers, based in Duffield, specialising in customer service and marketing.

In 2011, Paul was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the European Call Centre & Customer Service awards.

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