You can’t be good at everything . . .
I just finished reading Uncommon Service – How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business. The book is by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss, published by Harvard Business Review Press.
The book was uncommonly excellent. Very straightforward and to the point. Frei and Morriss uncover four basic truths about customer service, discuss the important ingredient of culture and provide guidance on how companies can scale to get bigger. Points are illustrated through a number of case studies from the familiar likes of Southwest and Zappos to the more obscure Bugs Burger Bug Killers, Ochsner Health System and LSQ Funding Group.
I put together an infographic highlighting some of the key themes in Uncommon Service:
Key Takeaway #1 – The book’s boldest assertion is that “you must have the courage to be bad . . . in the service of being great.” Figuring out where to place your emphasis is based upon prioritizing the needs of your customers. Be a leader in those areas that are valued and have the moxy to purposely stink in lesser areas.
Sometimes tradeoffs are not merely enough. You need to find ways to deliver the extra service provided. The easiest way is to charge a premium for the extra. Since that’s not always possible, Frei and Morriss offer three different and novel ways to bridge the gap.
Key Takeaway #2 - It is the responsibility of senior management to set their employees and customers up to succeed. This means organizing tasks and processes in a manner that the average employee can deliver upon routinely. Don’t expect your employees to wear a cape. Complexity (especially when IT is involved) is bad … keep it simple stupid.
Employees are only part of the equation, we need to organize our customers to improve service. Enlist them to help the service experience for everyone. You have two options: hire/fire or change the process.
Key Takeaway #3 - Culture not only beats strategy, but culture is the main driver in creating a leading service organization.
Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – here are the authors speaking at Google’s HQ in Mountain View, CA: