Let’s presume that you’re thinking about writing a Mission Statement which really defines what the purpose of the organisation is. And let’s say you’re even thinking about using the ‘to earn a profit …’ platform as the basis for your own Mission Statement.
If that’s the case, one of the questions you might be asking yourself is “But what will our customers think if we talk about our profit motivation and if we remove all the ‘warm and fuzzy’ bits?”
There are a couple of parts to the answer…
First of all, your customers aren’t dumb. They realise that the fundamental purpose of your business is to make a profit … and so if they see words to that effect in your Mission Statement; it’s unlikely to cause any undue comment. Besides, if your customers have a problem with you earning a profit … then you need new customers.
Indeed, given the expression ‘to earn a profit’, it’s clear that you’re prepared to make efforts and offer value which justifies a profit. No one has a right to complain about that.
The second part of the answer is “The customer shouldn’t see your Mission Statement anyway.”
Granted, this flies in the face of conventional thinking. Most businesses make a point of putting their Mission Statement in front of customers at every opportunity they get. I’ve even seen some who frame their Mission Statements and hang them in their reception areas.
But if the purpose of the Mission Statement is to focus your team … what’s it doing in front of customers anyhow?
A mission statement should be kept ‘in house’ and not generally visible to the public. That’s not to say it’s something to be ashamed of – but rather, it’s a management document and so no one but members of your team has a right to see it.
What about the ‘warm and fuzzy’ elements of the ‘traditional’ Mission Statement which are now missing from our new ‘lean’ version? These can be incorporated into another document which can be seen by the public.
You could, for instance, create a “Customer Service Commitment Statement” or “Service Policy” or “Business Philosophy” which spells out the details of your thinking.
And given that this document is designed primarily to communicate your intentions to customers, it CAN be written in a way that is most likely to appeal to them … and it CAN be published and displayed to the widest audience.
In this format, you could and should display it in your reception area – as well as include it in your proposals, your brochures, your sales presentations and so forth.
Because it’s been ‘purpose built’ to appeal to customers, you don’t need to explain anything away. And because it’s written in a form which is designed to appeal to customers, you can count on it to enhance the customer’s perception of you.
The bottom line is this: have horses for courses. Your Mission Statement is a management document and is designed to communicate a message to your team. Your Customer Service Statement is a marketing document and is designed to communicate a message to your market.
Mix them together and you wind up with a hybrid which does neither job properly. Keep them separate and you’ll have greater flexibility to express things in the most impactful way.
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