Is mission statement meaningful, or a bunch of hot air?


    Have you ever read a company’s mission statement and said to yourself, “What a bunch of B.S.!”

    You said that because the company’s interactions with you were not congruent with its “mission.” The mission statement said how much the company wants to “exceed your expectations,” and instead it could not even MEET them.

    I had the same banker and bank for 17 years. I was loyal — until they fired me. Never missed a payment. Grew every year.

    I went online the other day and saw the bank’s new marketing slogan: “We value relationships” — pure, unadulterated, marketing horse manure. An outright lie of the first order. My personal banker for seven years resigned because the bank did NOT value relationships.

    Not my problem anymore — I have a new bank that loves me.

    About a year ago, I began a list of customer promises. They transcend B.S. mission statements. The list simply states what we are committed to in our customer interactions and relationships — things we state because we intend to do them.

    They are NOT goals. They are NOT missions. They are NOT hype or marketing drivel (like your mission statement). They ARE promises to customers, and commitments that we have made to ourselves and deliver to everyone we connect with.

    You might want to compare this list of commitments to what your company is doing with and to its customers. And you may want to trash your self-serving mission statement that no one could recite even if someone was pointing a gun at them.

    NOTE: If you answer your phone with “press one, press two …” you automatically lose. No matter what you do, every customer hates you before you say a word.

    Customer promises and commitments (that are all about outcome):

    We will be friendly.

    We will be professional.

    We will be helpful.

    We will be proactive.

    We will be knowledgeable.

    We will have what customers want, when they want it.

    We will make providing the best service to our customers our top priority.

    We will view service as an opportunity and a priority, not a job function.

    We will answer the phone on the second ring with a live person 24-7-365.

    We will be available when you need us.

    We will be human to human at all times.

    We will be easy to do business with.

    We will provide the highest quality products.

    We will provide the highest quality training.

    We will do what we promise.

    We will keep you informed as we progress.

    We will think long term in all our endeavors.

    We will maintain great attitudes toward service.

    We will earn your loyalty with quality and value.

    We will take as much pride in your business as you do.

    We will maintain our dedication to lifelong learning.

    We will recover memorably when an error occurs.

    We will provide prompt service.

    We will respond in a heartbeat or faster.

    We will serve memorably.

    We will kiss ass and we will do it with a smile.

    We will go the “extra mile.”

    We will be on the leading edge of technology.

    We will customize and personalize all enterprise training.

    We will help increase your sales.

    We will be an expert resource for you.

    We will use creativity and value to differentiate and dominate.

    We will cultivate relationships by paying attention to each customer’s individual needs and interests.

    We will become your trusted adviser.

    We will collaborate with you every step of the way.

    We will practice what we preach.

    We will lead by example — always walking our talk.

    We will be committed to earn your loyalty.

    We will treat all customers the same — like gold.

    Long list? In my opinion, not long enough. Got list? Got intentions? If you want your company to develop harmony, consistency, clarity and loyalty, I recommend that you make your list of commitments and put them into action — before your competition does.

    Jeffrey Gitomer can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail

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