Customers Shape Your Success

August 31, 2015

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In a Wall Street Journal blog post, What Your CEO Is Reading: Pepsi Embraces Design Thinking, Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi offers:

“In the past, user experience wasn’t part of our lexicon. Focusing on crunch, taste, and everything else now pushes up to rethink shape, packaging, form, and function,” she says. “We’re forcing the design thinking way back into the supply chain.”

Why isn’t every company–regardless of size–actively seeking feedback about customer experience?

Photo Credit: Efexio

Thought for the week:

 “You are not a team because you work together. You are a team because you trust, respect and care for each other.” @ValaAfshar on Twitter

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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

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

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

July 20, 2015

Billy's Boston Chowder House

My wife and I only recently learned of a restaurant in Los Gatos when a restaurant closed and our usual waitress told us she was going to work there. Last night, we tried it: Billy’s Boston Chowder House in Los Gatos, California. It’s only 3,283 miles from Boston (as they proudly proclaim)!

We really didn’t know what to expect. It appeared the owner may have come from Boston due to memorabilia on the walls. Frankly, that had me a tad bit concerned as a lot of restaurants in Massachusetts are pretty mediocre: too heavy and so so taste. That can’t be said of Billy’s!

My wife had sand dabs. I had a cup of New England clam chowder and fish and chips–a true test. We were wowed by the food, the service and the owner, Bill Reynolds. This former tech executive opened his restaurant 4 years ago. And, he’s nailed it with incredible attention to detail and superior execution.

Bill is following his new passion with great abandon. He’s got a great team that works seamlessly. You could see his cooks smiling and laughing in a hot kitchen as they carefully prepared their guests meals.

We can’t wait to go back. Billy’s Boston Chowder House is a great testament to the Pine & Gillmore book, The Experience Economy. Great food, great service in an inviting environment.

Your test is to provide great products and services as well as great customer service to make your customers want to come back again and again. How do your customers rate your business?

Thought for the week:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ‘WHO HOO, what a ride!’” – Sign in store in Pacific Grove, California
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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

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

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


What I.T. Support Should Be

April 12, 2015

 

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I’m working with a client and occasionally need I.T. support.

The I.T. person who supports me and the entire division is a model for who an I.T. support person should be:

  • He’s very responsive–usually within minutes
  • He responds to requests for assistance from anyone including me
  • There are no hoops to jump through to get his help
  • He gets whatever needs to be done completed quickly and professionally
  • He does everything with a smile

Duane is a standout. I look forward to working with him on any issue that might arise.

It doesn’t matter if someone is supporting internal or external customers–great customer service is something to rejoice about.

Photo Credit: CWCS Managed Hosting, Flickr

Thought for the week:

“People wish because they are afraid to take action.”  Alan Weiss, Thrive–Stop Wishing Your Life Away
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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

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

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


How The Customer Experience Is Improved

March 16, 2015

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When I think about “making the complex simple,” I’m driven to help my clients improve the customer experience.

Companies invest large sums in process improvement initiatives (most of which have a significant information technology component) that have little bearing on customers. There needs to be a favorable return on investment for these initiatives. But, just as importantly, how many improve the customer experience?.

  • Via these initiatives, are you making the complex simple?
  • Are the people who interact with customers delivering the kind of experience that excites and delights the customer?
  • Are systems and processes enabling a better customer experience?
  • Is your company and its customer-facing processes a standout in your industry or mediocre at best?
  • Are your employees empowered to help customers on the spot or are customers who experience problems subjected to a hellish gantlet to resolve a problem that should have been very easy and quick to resolve?
  • Are you treating customers like you would like to be treated?
  • Are service levels improved to the extent a customer would even notice?

Systems and processes alone are insufficient to provide a great customer experience.

The human component is one of the highest return investments yet it is usually the most neglected area. Companies need to set high standards and insist that employees rise to meet those standards. Employees who can’t deliver a wonderful customer experience need to go.

Photo courtesy of Wonderlane on Flickr

Thought for the week:

“The secret of success is constancy to purpose.” – Benjamin Disraeli
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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

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

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


Microsoft Office 365 Support Earns an “A+” From Me

December 29, 2014

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I want to share an absolutely stellar report about the support I recently received from Microsoft for their Office 365 product line.

I had tried a couple of different versions of Office 365 this past summer and finally decided it was time to make a commitment to Office 365.

I was having difficulties getting the applications to work under my new license. I searched the knowledge base and could find nothing that seemed appropriate for my situation. I suspected earlier trials may be conspiring against me. After struggling for perhaps an hour, I found a phone number for support.

I didn’t want to call the phone number. I had heard horror stories over the years about people unable to get the support they needed from Microsoft. Yet, I had this deep feeling that if I didn’t call, I’d have no chance of resolving my issues.

Reluctantly, I called the number. A polite woman I suspect was the Philippines took my information and transferred me to a technical support agent in what I later learned was Mumbai, India. We Americans have all heard about challenges dealing with India tech support—I was concerned but proceeded.

I had a great customer experience. The Mumbai agent committed to getting me through my issue and, I want to tell you, she did just that. The call took probably 90 minutes but she wanted to stay with me to make sure we truly had the technical issues resolved.

I shared my excitement for my support experience with a colleague and, being a techy like me, he, too, seemed surprised at my experience.

If I have a future issue, I have a person to work with as I have her contact details. I’m to email her and she will get back to me. There’s no time limit on this.

This is the kind of support that every company should strive to deliver. Great job, Microsoft!

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

© 2014 Dave Gardner


Knee Defender And Irate Airline Passengers

September 1, 2014

EasyJet coach seats

As airlines put more and more passenger seats into their aircraft, it’s clear they are thinking we are simply freight and will endure no end of pain and suffering to get from one destination to another. We are forced to fit into an envelope of space that, for some aircraft configurations, must violate the Geneva Convention torture regulations.

As I write this, there have been two instances of air rage in the past week over a product called the Knee Defender. And, no wonder! Here’s what happens.

When the person in front of you reclines their seat, it’s only natural to not want to have your face even fewer inches from the seatback in front of you so you naturally recline your seat a bit just to preserve what little personal space you’ve been allocated. Having the person behind you disable your seat recline function with the Knee Defender is tantamount to a declaration of war.

What to do? Ban the Knee Defender from all flights within the U.S. and to/from international destinations involving the U.S.. The airline and the marketplace can decide when seats recline, not some bozo in 12C who’s decided he’s going ruin the person’s trip in 11C. Capiche? Great

Photo Courtesy of  on Flickr

 

Thought for the week:

“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond.” -Bruce Lee
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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:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! 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.


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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