As a business owner, you can’t say “That was my employee’s fault.”

How to Be Accountable

The question is not if you should be accountable to your customers; in today’s market, you have no choice.  If you are not providing exemplary service, you are already on a downhill slide with no way to turn around.  People have too many choices available to them to stick with someone that does not provide what they need and not just meet, but exceed their expectations.

Accountability is more than setting up checkpoints to ensure that mistakes don’t happen.  It’s more than rectifying a situation that resulted in a less than desirable outcome for the customer.  It is about creating a culture of accountability in your business.  That first begins with you.

People often look at accountability as a standard to which someone must be held.  It isn’t a standard; it’s simply who we are.  You either provide exemplary customer service or you don’t; there is no in-between.  Your must lead an accountable life and then it becomes second-nature rather than something you must work at.

So, how do you translate that attitude to your company, your employees?  You must first clarify your goals.  This allows everyone to take ownership of the goal and their behavior.

In practice, this means taking ownership of an entire project or department instead of just the part you are responsible for.  As a business owner, you can’t say “That was my employee’s fault.”  The customer sees everything that happens in that company as your fault because YOU are the owner.

In the same way, your employees must take responsibility for more than just what they did.  This attitude will shape how they act when someone else falls behind in their job or fails to provide top-notch service.  They will step in and help that customer even if it isn’t their responsibility.  That is true accountability.