Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Want to be a world class company?

"The only way to build a good company is one satisfied customer at a time. However, to build a great company, we must add one raving fan at a time. The difference is this...a satisfied customer will come back, but a raving fan not only comes back, but becomes part of your sales team. There's a big difference!" [John Murphy from his book, "The How of Wow!"]

The truth is world class service organizations know and apply certain practices that most companies do not. This is what differentiates them from the pack. This is what keeps them moving forward on the leading edge of innovation and change, forcing others to catch up. They do things that exceed customer expectations. They solve problems before customers even know there is a problem. They fill latent needs before customers know they have a need. They offer value propositions that seem impossible, yet they deliver on their word. They understand that the customer is not always right, that the customer often does not know what they want until they see it. As Lee Iacocca put it many years ago, no one ever came to Chrysler and asked for a mini-van to be designed.

Super positive experiences with most businesses may be rare indeed, but they are a way of life for the companies that have it right. Customer service is not a department. It is an attitude. It is a culture. It is a collective way of seeing the world. "Wowing" customers is not the exception. It is the rule. Exceeding expectations is not a surprise. It is planned and executed with diligence, ease and grace.

Take Disney, for example. Imagine you are standing in line waiting for a ride in one of the parks. You notice a sign that indicates you will be in line for 35 minutes. Is this a guess? Is this like listening to an airline attendant telling you the plane you are waiting for is scheduled to leave on time in ten minutes when there is no plane at the gate? Disney not only knows how long you will wait, but they pad it by a few minutes so you "think you made good time" when you get on the ride in 33 minutes. Instead of being disappointed or simply satisfied, you feel good.

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