You can impart remarkable service that will set your products and services completely apart from every other in your market. It's possible because you are unique, creative, and capable of making friends.
It's going to cost you though. You're going to have to care more...a lot more. But, here are three reasons why you have no choice:1. Remarkable Service Makes You Remarkable.
2. Remarkable Service Makes You Trustworthy.
- It's not all about selling a good product, pushing it out into the market, and making a lot of money. Zappos sells the same products as any department store for about the same price. I can get the same pair of Converse All-Stars at a shoe store in the mall, but I choose Zappos because they appreciate it, pleasant to deal with, excited for the business, and willing to jump through hoops for me. Zappos has made customer service their number one priority. They are a service company that happens to sell shoes.
- Treat your customers in a way that makes them feel like they matter to you. They will notice the difference and you will be remarkable in their mind. People remember remarkable amidst all the noise in the market.
3. Remarkable Service Makes You Better.
- Every customer carries a special set of needs and circumstances. So remarkable service requires a personal touch. That means you must interact with customers on a personal level that leads to relationship building.
- Customers remember the people and organizations they matter to and have relationship with. I buy my glasses from WarbyParker because I know and trust them.
- Want your customers to trust you? Prove to them that service matters to you. Care enough to make service a priority. Remarkable service leads to trust which is followed up by sales.
- If service matters to you, then you must be constantly connected to customers. Get back to them...promptly. Find out what you are doing right and where you can improve. If trust exists in your relationships, you'll get honest feedback.
- You get an invitation to take a survey on every Walmart receipt, right? Despite the chance to win a $5000 Walmart gift card, how many times have you taken the survey? Exactly, same here.
- When was the last time a friend asked your for your opinion? You gave it to them, right? You're more likely to offer your opinion or feedback to help them improve because they will actually listen to you. They care about you and you care about them.
- Customer feedback is worth its weight in gold because it saves you time and money brainstorming and performing market research. Besides, wouldn't you rather talk to your friends over analyzing market statistics?
Remarkable customer service has to be part of your strategy. If you're going to "get around to it" you never will. Make a plan and start leading by example. Live it with your example before you make a power point presentation about it.
It's critical to be mindful that the people you lead come from all different faiths and backgrounds. I think as leaders we need to be reminded of this because we can forget and think ourselves above others.
A great way to ruin a relationship is by ignorantly attacking what someone else believes. Here's an example of how not to do it:
I'm going to bet that Brandon Flowers
has forgiven Richard Dawkins
by now. What if they worked together? What if Richard was Brandon's manager?
After this uncomfortable exchange do you think Brandon would look forward to coming to work and collaborating with Richard? Do you think he's going to enjoy sharing his ideas in meetings with him?
Here's some advice: Don't be a bonehead
I wish managers would actually take the opportunity to lead and not focus on who's right and who's wrong. Imagine if their focus was on building bridges, coming together, and focusing on common ideas, interests, and beliefs. This is how one moves people forward in a position of leadership.
The point is not to focus on what divides us, but rather what brings us together. Management must not think themselves above
their employees. Focus should be on leading and seeking that higher ground so they can lift others up. At the heart of what they do must be service
- giving, serving, coaching, and providing an example of how they want their people to lead, follow, and work. People will follow your example over what you say.
I challenge you to be openminded of what other people believe, or don't believe for that matter. We are so fortunate to live in a country where we have this right and we should never take it for granted. Besides, listening to what others believe does not mean you have to believe it too. Take the next opportunity you get to share what you believe with someone, find out what values you share and what principles you agree on.
Chances are you have more in common than you thought.
Last week I unplugged from all social media...come to find out I didn't miss much. I recommend trying it sometime.
I spent 5 days in the Dixie National Forest near Panguitch Lake, Utah
. I've loved the outdoors since I was a kid, while I haven't spent that much time in a tent since scout camp in the '90s is was good to get a change of scenery.
At the Color Country Natural Resource Camp
we take 40 students, remove them from their mobile devices, online social networks, and provide them with a hands-on learning experience they will never forget. They make (real-life) friends with students of rival schools and embark on an adventure of self discovery. It must be experienced to truly be appreciated.
This summer camp is the answer to what's wrong with formal education
. The camp runs like this:
- Investigations happen during the day, we take a break for recreation, then lectures have at night.
- There are absolutely NO multiple-choice exams.
- The food is amazing!
- Public speaking and writing are required.
- Service is performed for USFS projects.
- Leadership, personal motivation, and work ethic are rewarded instead of test scores as a measure of achievement.
- We focus is on cooperation and problem-solving instead of isolation.
- We award scholarships.
- Talk is cheap...we get in the dirt and do the work.
These are the 8 ways we enjoyed a week unplugged from technology in between all the experiential learning:
- Mountain Biking
- Rifle Shooting
- Team building challenges
- Hip Hop dancing
- Solo reflection in wilderness
Youth spend 4 hours each morning doing hands-on investigations in the following fields of study:
- Wilderness survival
- Outdoor photography
- Creative writing
Professionals are invited to the camp to lecture on various subjects. This year we covered:
- Overcoming obstacles to save the California Condor from extinction
- Careers in recreation management
- What archaeology teaches us about humanity
- An introduction to bats and caves
- Astronomy: A view of Saturn and Mars
- Careers in entomology
- Orienteering in the wilderness with a map and compass
For more information on the Color Country Natural Resource Camp in Washington County, Utah please visit: www.ccnrcamp.org
This is a great profile on Tony Hsieh and the Zappos recipe. While I like the idea of a strong culture, I don't like the idea of it becoming my "lifestyle." However, a deep and value-driven culture is critical to success in any organization - yet nearly impossible to quantify.
I think leaders within an organization should take notice and invest generously in culture, even if it's just in their own humble department or branch. Happy employees do work that impacts. Organizations are catching on and if you don't have culture, you'll see your people leaving for places like Zappos.
I went on a tour of Zappos while I was in Henderson, NV earlier this year. It was a very remarkable experience. At first, seeing their culture firsthand seemed sort of superficial, I think the media amplifies it to be greater than it really is, but Zappos believes in promoting progression - I believe that people who are learning and growing are happier, and thus do greater work. This is the only way such a terrible business model could not only succeed, but thrive.
I have shared in Gary Vaynerchuk's conviction for a very long time. He breaks it down:
- The battle of marketing is now going to be individual. We are in the dawn of one-on-one marketing.
- How ironic: the internet has brought things back to "small town roots" - most people have forgotten about this and what the world was like before the Internet was in our pockets.
- Businesses are not running the marathon, they're running the sprint. So they fail because they are not worried about the lifetime value of the customer and customer retention.
- Businesses are treating social media like a one night stand, trying to close on the first transaction.
Those who "get this" now will be much farther ahead than the shortsighted transactional "salesman" trying exploit as many people as possible just to turn a few bucks. Wouldn't you rather have a network of people that will sustain your career for years ? The latter requires building, caring, creativity, and emotional labor. Are you up for it?
If you haven't already noticed, in today's economy you actually have to do the right thing and care about people...I like how Gary said "It's like the force."
No matter how catastrophic the blunder, how you respond determines everything.
A negative and uncaring response (like BP’s reaction to its oil spill) can have a detrimental impact on corporate image, while a positive and caring response (like Apple’s free cases for the iPhone 4 antenna defect) can have long-term favorable effects that build brand loyalty.
Lesson: Screwing up presents an opportunity for you to show how much you really care.
I'm right in the middle of reading Derek Sivers’ book, Anything You Want
. It’s an autobiographical tale of starting a little hobby, accidentally growing it into a big business, and then selling it for $22 million.
As I was reading this afternoon, I came across a topic I had been thinking about for a while. I have always wondered about why companies institute and enforce such strict policies. Of course it's because the owner got burnt one time, but why punish 1000+ customers because of one bad apple?
Derek has taught me that it's extremely important to resist that simplistic, angry, reactionary urge to punish everyone, and to step back to look at the big picture.
In that angry moment, you're only focusing on that one lousy person who did you wrong - your judgment is clouded, you're giving into the darkside - you start thinking that everyone sucks, and the whole entire world is out to get you. FYI: This is a horrible time to make a new policy.
If you ever find yourself in this spot, think of all the hundreds of customers who did you right. You'll never be able to prevent bad things from occurring, just learn to shrug it off and resist the urge to punish everyone for one person's mistake.
I just read this article
by David Ronick
), the point that stood out to me most was when he stated “perfect is the enemy of good enough." I'm somewhat of a perfectionist, I like things neat, organized, on time or early. I often go overboard in the beginning diving into what I'm doing so I have enough time to refine the project, report, product, or whatever I'm doing in a stress free manner well in advance of the deadline. In college I preferred to turn my work in early so I could get feedback from my professors (once I was accused of plagiarism because my professor didn't believe a student would actually do something like this).
I finally learned that when I'm almost done...that means it's time to launch. I use to curse myself with constant editing when the product was actually "good enough," I would waste a great deal of time trying to make it perfect.
I no longer do this because Jason Fried
taught me in on page 93 of Rework
that once a product does what it needs to do, then it needs to go to market. I used to hold everything up because of a few leftovers, when I should have been shipping the product out the door, and putting off what I didn't need right at that very moment. Jason makes the point, "Build the necessities now, worry about the luxuries later."
I'm reminded of the founders of Crate and Barrel. They didn't wait to build perfect and fancy displays when they opened their first store. No, what they did was turn over the crates and barrels that the merchandise came in and stacked the products on top of them. I love the no-frills Costco credo! Drop the pallet and cut the wrap - that's it.
While this kind of approach could easily be mistaken for skimping on quality, cutting corners, laziness or procrastination, it's important to understand that the best way to create something great is through iterations.
Some times we get ourselves into trouble with bosses, coworkers, and customers.
We bring it upon ourselves because our estimates flat out suck. We upset these people because we tell them we'll have the job done, the order processed, the assignment completed, the bid prepared, or the proposal submitted...but we fail to meet their expectations because maybe we should have asked for more time. But we don't!
We press through and ship it late hoping they'll understand but they usually don't, they become frustrated with us and we might even get labeled as the person that's "always running behind." Worse, our ethos is damaged and we feel like a liar because we didn't do what we said we would do.
If your intentions are pure and you want to deliver great service to whom ever, but it often seems like you're running behind, then you need to read this attachment. You can avoid this kind of trouble by better communicating the expectations, you can do this by breaking the project down into smaller pieces. It's hard to judge how long a huge project will take, it's easier to estimate how long something small will take. So take a moment, break down the project down into smaller chunks, then do the math. Expect the best outcome, but plan for the worst.