Customer Satisfaction Month at Fast Company, Part 1

Cover It’s Customer Satisfaction Month at Fast Company and they’ve put up a wealth of news and awards for companies who have been singled out for excellent Customer Service and satisfaction.

Of note around here is that Cabela’s has fallen off the list (they were on it last year). It’s particularly troubling to me because I live in their headquarters town.

My wife worked for them for several years and left this past spring when my workload expanded to the point where I needed her more than we needed the benefits of a corporate job. She had been increasinly dismayed at the top-down directives which all aim at increasing stock value at the expense of customer. A 30,000 foot view would tell you to please the customers and the stock will take care of itself, but the internal mindset is on the quarterly performance numbers and that is what management bonuses are tied to.

Here’s what my wife had to say on the company profile page

Since Cabela’s has gone public the focus seems to have gone from customer satisfaction to staring at the bottom line. I have been in 6 of their stores over the last year and was not greeted by anyone except the credit card salespeople. Living in Cabela’s home town and having onced worked for them it has been sad to watch them go from a core value of customer first to "lets just get $5 more from each customer and our stock price will rise." My hope is that they will wake up and smell the roses and get back to their original core values.

It’s sad because outsiders who are paying attention can see and feel subtle changes in a business that insiders are blind to. Even though she was well qualified for higher-level work my wife worked as an administrative assistant in the retail store because that’s what fit our needs when she got the job. So, she was at the bottom of the food chain watching the management-by-the-quarter drivel being spoon-fed to the people who actually interact with customers. Too bad.

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