Lost ideas, lost opportunities…

j0399215A-Ha….there is a great post on Customer Connection from Leslie Pagel at Walker Information sharing how missing an opportunity to capture a customer’s idea in an immediate and simplistic fashion can make a difference – perhaps a game-changing difference.

“The other night my husband and I sat at a bar for dinner when I overheard the following conversation between the bartender and another customer.

Customer: Can you put on the IU (Indiana University) football game?
Bartender: No hun. We don’t get the Big Ten Network.
Customer: That is too bad. I was hoping to watch the game while I ate dinner.
Bartender: You can go to our website and submit a request to add that channel. They do listen when customers submit feedback. They’ve implemented a lot of things that have really helped us out.
Customer: Oh. OK.

The customer had a cell phone with internet access, but did not take the next step to submit his feedback. Instead, he used his phone to check the score of the game.

While I don’t know for sure, I doubt this customer ever submitted his feedback, which got me thinking. How many ideas get lost because sharing feedback is inconvenient for customers? Think about it. How many times have you thought, “I should send them a message to tell them what a great job they did,” or “That was inconvenient. I should send them a letter?”

How many times have you been in meetings, social events or even “just hanging out” where you witness or have an “a-ha moment”?  How do you take action on that idea?  In that moment?  Do you write it down on a napkin, call yourself and leave a voice-mail, write a note in your cell phone?  None of the above?

Right, too often we find ourselves not able to take the immediate action needed to capture an idea that would improve the delivery of service or product.  Enabling communication with the powers that be within a company is a nut worth cracking.

We have the ability to access information immediately.  How we leverage that ability or create a link to that information to harness the ideas of our customers is our next challenge.  As Leslie points out in “How many ideas get lost because sharing feedback is inconvenient?”, a challenge doesn’t have to have a complex solution.  It can be as simple as taking an order.

Great article and great food for thought Leslie,


Posted under Business & Process Innovation, Customers, Employees, General, Leadership, Shareholder Value

This post was written by Terry Cain on November 2, 2009

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Elephant Bite #2. Teach Me To Fish…

We started last week talking about how you create a valuable customer experience – very much like eating an elephant – one bite at a time.  Again, you don’t do it all at once.

So, let’s talk about Bite #2  –  Teach Me To Fish.Fish

Make sure your Learning and Development areas are providing the best Customer Service training available.  Spend the money and spend the time.  It’s worth it.  It’s worth it more in this area, than in almost any other.  Teach everyone to fish…

Create certifications around Customer Service.  Role Play around Customer Service.  Institute active listening sessions to catch someone doing something right – representing the kind of approach you value.  Celebrate successful customer service practices.  Hold them up – Hold them up high!  Make that your new gold standard.

The largest part of teaching me to fish is also teaching how to listen.  Each one of us has an opportunity to be a better listener.  And in doing so, we hear the real needs of our customers.  Engaging our customer in how to best meet those needs creates superior customer experiences.

As Kristin Anderson and Ron Zemke call out in Knock Your Socks Off Customer Service,  “As far as customers are concerned you are the company. This is not a burden, but the core of your job. You hold in your hands the power to keep customers coming back — perhaps even to make or break the company.”

Now that we’ve Hired the Right People and we’ve Taught Them To Fish, what’s next?  That’s for next week…..see you then!


Posted under Customers, Employees, General, Leadership

Courage, Teamwork and Strategy – The Tour de France

The Tour de France just finished this past weekend.  We saw the return of Lance Armstrong along with several amazingly strong cycling teams this year.  What an fantastic race!  The Tour is truly a one of a kind event.  The phrase “One for All and All for One” comes to mind.  Yes, I know that was attributed to The Four Musketeers, but, it could easily apply to each team racing in the tour every year.  Only one man can wear the yellow jersey.  There is a winning team, but only one stands on top of the podium and gets to claim the overall victory.  ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tour_de_france)

The strategy is created by the coach of each team.  They review the overall strategy as a team, with tactical briefings at the beginning of the day as well as throughout the day (they have headsets and radio that link everyone together).  Teamwork comes in during each stage.  Each teammember has a role to play.  Again, there can be only one leader.  The team members take on roles known as “domestiques” to do whatever they can to make sure the team captain is in yellow.  Courage comes into play each day during the 23 days of the race.  There are races within the race itself as well as winning an overall stage (day) of the race.  The courage to even show up and declare yourself as a contender for such an honor in such a race.

Each one of these components must be present, plus a few more, to create success and claim victory.  How are we doing everyday in our day to day dealings with our customers.  Are we executing well against our strategies?  Are we working well as a team?  Do we have the courage to stay the course or change as the environment changes?  And how does each decision make a difference to our customers?

A short post this week, but something to think about.  The Tour lasts for 23 days.  How long does our / your commitment to the customer’s experience last?


Posted under Customers, Employees, Leadership, Shareholder Value

This post was written by Terry Cain on July 28, 2009

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