When An Owner Doesn’t Care About Customer Experience

April 28, 2014

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Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: customer experience

My wife needed quilting supplies and decided to support a non-chain, small business here in San Jose. They were out of a product and promised to call when the supplies arrived.

They called on a Thursday stating the item was in. My wife told them she’d stop by on Friday. The next day she drove 25 minutes (16 miles in city traffic) and was surprised they had closed at 2:00 p.m. for Good Friday. There was no mention of the early closing during the call the day before.

She called the following Monday and a store clerk agreed to ship the item and waive the shipping fee for her time and trouble the prior week. That was the right thing to do!

When the item arrived a few days later, my wife had been charged for shipping. She called the store and the same clerk refused to acknowledge the commitment for free shipping–her boss was standing next to her and eventually jumped on the call.

After a tedious conversation, the store owner agreed to refund the shipping but only after my wife committed to never do business with them again.

  • Who would want to do business with an outfit that doesn’t do what it says it will do?
  • Why would the owner expect my wife to be willing to overlook how she is being treated in this transaction?
  • What is the potential lost lifetime value of my wife’s business for $5.00?
  • Doesn’t the business owner realize there are many alternatives to doing business with his store?

Yelp confirms a number of missteps like the one she encountered. Negative customer experiences combined with the ability to easily discover customer experience information about a business via Yelp and other services mean business owners can’t hide their missteps. It’s 2014, not 1980.

The question for my readers this week is what missteps are you subjecting your customers to? You can’t accelerate growth if missteps are impacting your customer’s experiences.

Photo Credit: Flickr.com, Melissa O’Donohue

 

Thought for the week:

“The very purpose of our life is happiness, which is sustained by hope. We have no guarantee about the future, but we exist in the hope of something better. Hope means keeping going, thinking, ‘I can do this.’ It brings inner strength, self-confidence, the ability to do what you do honestly, truthfully and transparently.” – His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

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When The Unimaginable Happens

April 21, 2014

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Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: leadership

This week, a South Korean ferry capsized killing perhaps 300 people. The captain and crew were ill-prepared to initiate the proper contingent actions once the ferry ran aground. The children did what the adults told them to–stay put and wait for further instructions–which, tragically, resulted in many unnecessary deaths.

In 1988, I took up scuba diving. I took advanced training as well as rescue diver training to be better equipped to deal with possible underwater emergencies. A good portion of scuba training is about “what to do if something goes wrong,” e.g., your regulator (breathing apparatus) is accidently pulled from your mouth, someone accidently kicks your mask off, your mask becomes fogged up and you can’t see, you or your scuba buddy get a calf cramp, etc.

Eventually, I had an emergency in a small tunnel in Cozumel, Mexico, at a depth of about 90 feet. I became stuck and could not move forward to exit the tunnel. Scary? Yeah! I followed my training which had become instinctual and started with “stop, think, breathe.”

I quickly figured out what I was going to do next to extricate myself from my situation. I executed my plan and, as a result, what could have been a calamity turned out to be a minor speed bump during in my dive. I was most grateful for my training and dive instructors.

When you are in a leadership position, you must have a plan for what to do when the unimaginable happens–a plan that can be executed with great speed and precision. Think of Captain Sully Sullenberger–a U.S. Airway’s pilot–who, after bird strikes disabled both engines, glided his commercial airplane to a landing on the Hudson River saving everyone on board.

It doesn’t matter if you on the high seas or part of a business dynamic–both can catch you off guard if you don’t have a plan for dealing with the unimaginable.

 

Photo Credit: DavidWatts1978, Flickr

Thought for the week:

“Don’t think what’s the cheapest way to do it or the fastest way to do it but what’s the most amazing way to do it!” – Sir Richard Branson
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

 

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Impenetrable Cultures

April 14, 2014

 

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Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: culture

Fourteen of us joined a manufacturing company as vice presidents with a new CEO as part of a significant transformation effort with major growth initiatives:

  • increase our market share in North America
  • increase global market presence and penetration
  • implement mass customization to promote efficiencies across the enterprise and into our dealer channel
  • implement a lean kaizen process

There were issues that never surfaced during the interview process:

  • the company had a long history of turning over its entire executive team every 18-24 months
  • the employees demonstrated repeatedly that, if they could stall or delay change initiatives, those initiatives would soon pass with the departure of the executive team–it was as predictable as the sun rising every day

No one seemed responsible for addressing the culture issues. And, without a culture shift, we had little hope of creating sustainable and dramatic change. Most of us were gone in the normal cycle of executive turnover.

As my mentor, Dr. Alan Weiss offers:

“Culture is merely a set of beliefs which governs behavior. Change the core belief systems and you change the culture. Simple (or as difficult) as that.”

He’s right. Culture is a key ingredient in accelerating growth that is too easily overlooked. It need not be.

 Photo Credit: Tony Bowden, Flickr, Ivangorod Fortress on the Russian side of the border from Estonia Ivangorod Fortress

Thought for the week:

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”  -Peter Drucker
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

 


Self-Esteem & Self-Talk

April 7, 2014

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Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: self-esteem

I overheard an executive assistant (after giving her boss an idea) say, “I’m just an executive assistant.”

What struck me was the notion that a person gives energy to “I’m just a ____.” Perhaps she was kidding. But what if she believes it? What does “I’m just a _____” do to one’s psyche?

  • It diminishes a person’s ability to feel good about contributing ideas
  • It demeans a person’s value add to the organization
  • It disempowers the person–it puts them in a box that they think they need to stay and know their place

“I’m just a ____” isn’t:

  • Uplifting
  • Empowering
  • Engaging

As Prentice Mulford offered as a book title in 1908, “Thoughts Are Things,” our thoughts impact our behavior and engender feelings about who we are and what we represent in our world.

If you ever think to yourself, “I’m just a ____,” I hope you’ll think again and reframe who you are in a positive way. This will help you thrive.

Photo credit: _scartissue on Flickr.com

 

 

Thought for the week:

The most dangerous phrase in the language is “we’ve always done it this way.”  – Rear Admiral Grace Hopper
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

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