How Are You Learning About Your Customers’ Expectations?


There is no one on the planet smarter than an eager beaver just back from a best practices conference.  In the sixties when my dad encountered such a person he would tell my mother, “If I ever get that smart I want you to slap me silly!”  He was not one to suffer fools in the face of ill-founded arrogance.
The best practices upstart often prefaces their plea for a pet “oughta” or “shoulda” with the words, “Standing in the customer’s shoes.”  It sounds like, “At Smith Company they put a Filtabrator 22 in their IVR circuitry yielding a 22.4% decrease in FCR that created a 31% increase in customer sat.  Standing in the customer’s shoes, this will put us on the bleeding edge and enhance our core competency.” The “customer’s shoes” is a smug decoy for claiming, “We know what’s best for our customers.”  It was likely the line of logic that said, “We just know our customers will love New Coke, iPhones without[…] Continue…

How Leaders Impact Service Quality


The new billboard proclaimed the El Casa de Adjetivo on 2nd Street as having the best Mexican food in town.  We had driven by the restaurant many times but never given it a try.  We are major fans of great Mexican food—not the fast food type, but the kind that tastes imported directly from Monterey.  So, into the restaurant we went.  The ambiance was nice; real Mexican music was playing in the background.  Our waitress greeted us with menus and a warm welcome.
However, the great experience ended almost as soon as it began.  My wife ordered a glass of Chablis.  When the waitress brought Chardonnay and my wife complained, the friendly retort was, “Sorry, I picked up the wrong bottle.”  We both ordered extra beans but no rice.  And, we both got rice.  My wife had to ask twice for a glass of ice.  I ordered a side of fresh cut, raw, super-hot jalapenos, and not pickled ones.  You can guess at this point what I was served.
When we paid our […] Continue…

Why Not Offer an Unconditional Service Guarantee?


Lifetime warranties are a common feature of the product world.  They essentially say “we guarantee that the object you bought will work as long as you own it.  If the product ever fails, we promise to replace it or repair it to your satisfaction.”  Lifetime warranties, as opposed to limited warranties, are designed to be bold statements communicating confidence in a product.  What would a lifetime warranty look like for a service?
Service warranties (sometimes called service guarantees) promise that if a service provider fails to deliver the outcome promised, customers receive a full refund.  It sounds like, “Pizza delivered in thirty minutes or it is free.” Datapro Information Services guarantees “to deliver the report on time, to high-quality standards, and to the contents outlined in this proposal or you can deduct any amount from the final payment which is deemed as fair.”
Most service guarantees are anchored around[…] Continue…

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