Good intentions aren’t enough
Your company has a good attitude. You’re helpful. You try hard. So what? Everyone has helpful attitudes and tries hard.
Upping the ante in service
All CEOs pride themselves on how helpful and friendly their companies are. Who cares? All the smiles in the world aren’t going to help you if you don’t provide your product or service in a way that customers want.
It’s time to recognize that we live in a world of rising service expectations — not just faster service, but better service overall. Customer expectations are higher, competition is tougher and costs are rising. Customers expect everything to be done immediately — almost as though they were dealing with Amazon or Federal Express!
FedEx and Amazon as the enemy
There must be something more to making customers happy — something that most companies are missing.
FedEx and Amazon have raised everyone’s expectations about service and fast delivery. Customers don’t care how hard it is to deliver the things they want. They just want things done quickly and correctly, without long explanations or heavy breathing. In fact they don’t want explanations at all.
That’s why it’s crucial for you to organize your company to provide completely satisfying customer experiences — without any fuss, arm-waving or needless sweat.
Good intentions aren’t enough
Unfortunately, most CEOs want to hand out T-shirts saying:
We’re better because we care!
That’s ridiculous. It doesn’t matter how nice you are if you don’t do the job right.
Being nice to people is certainly part of making customers happy. But the really important part is designing systems that allow you to do the job well.
Doing things right
Doing things right for customers isn’t an accident. It’s the result of careful thinking and really good processes.
Yes, smiles are always welcome, and helpfulness is useful, but systems make good experiences happen regularly and routinely.
Success requires meeting and exceeding clients’ expectations. After all, a customer only needs one reason to do business with you and one reason not to. That’s why having a good process for dealing with customers is more important than warm and fuzzy feelings.
Good intentions… bah, humbug!
Doing things right for customers isn’t an accident.
It’s the result of careful thinking and really good processes.
It’s like a restaurant. No matter how friendly they are, if the food is no good you’re not going back. And if the service isn’t attentive, you leave unhappy, no matter how good the food might have been.
McDonald’s has figured out how to make great fries without having you wait endlessly. So too, Amazon has an inventory system that’s scarily smart. (How do they know I’m going to want that item delivered in New Jersey? How do they do it in two days — for free, with no questions or fuss?)
They do it — and make it look simple, by having really good ways of handling normal things.
Don’t delude yourself
Everyone cares, and everyone works hard. The real question is whether you’re routinely giving customers what they want and value every day.
Don’t get me wrong: smiles and helpful attitudes are a great place to start. But systematic approaches are more than 80% of making customers happy. They’re what’s really important, not the smiles and thank you’s.