Customers first, or employees – do you really need to ask?

I was struck a few years back when I read Herb Kelleher’s excellent account of the growth of SouthWest Airlines that he held the view that customers come second whilst employees come first. Aha! I thought, contrarian thinking from the head of a company renowned for delivering a great customer experience, that’s great! And since I have come across similar statements from Richard Branson and many others  I have tended to repeat this as a piece of received wisdom. Time then to unpack the issue and ask: in a company that wants to provide a great customer experience do customers come first or second?

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Five key questions to check if you have OCXD

The drugs won’t work

They say you should never start with an apology – but let’s break that rule: apologies in advance to anyone reading this who does actually suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). This post is not intended to trivialise a serious mental health condition but Obsessive Customer Experience Disorder (OCXD) seems like a good way of characterising Continue reading “Five key questions to check if you have OCXD”

Business lessons from the Edinburgh Fringe: 3) Just add circus skills

If you have been following this series closely you’ll be equipped to build great relationships with your customers and be able to motivate your co-workers with a few killer one-liners and some well thought-out communications. There’s just one thing that needs to be added to spice up the workplace: circus skills. Yes, this is my big take-away from the Fringe: the business world would benefit enormously from regular injections of acrobatics, tightrope-walking and attempts at the seemingly-impossible.

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Business lessons from the Edinburgh Fringe: 2) Stand up and be funny

I’m going to tell you a story… no, I’m going to start with a confession – I don’t go to that many comedy shows so what I’m going to say is based almost entirely on the few shows I saw at the Fringe. But, as we consultants say, two data points make a trend and anything more than that is cast-iron proof. Oh, and I’m also going to attempt some humour… what’s that? People heading for the door? And I’ve only just started…

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Service Smackdown 3: Olympic Special Part 1 – London 2012 vs the World

A colleague once passed on the received wisdom that when a business starts to use sporting metaphors it’s a sure sign that it’s in trouble. Be that as it may, this post offers some lessons from the London 2012 Olympics for delivering superior service and a terrific customer experience. This means changing the rules for the Service Smackdown – which, since I made them up and they are basically unfair, I’m at liberty to do – as I’m not able to compare London 2012 with anything even vaguely similar – the scale and uniqueness of the undertaking makes that impossible. Consider this to be more of an exhibition bout then since, on the basis of my direct experiences so far it’s at least podiumed* on customer service.

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Locating the passion – do you know when you’ve been tango’d?

In my attempts at bringing humour into my work, I – and I think I’m probably not the only one – have occasionally used the phrase ‘through the medium of interpretive dance’ as a shorthand for ‘out-there, wacky stuff in the business place’. Despite my love of aforesaid wackiness I’ve never actually been to a meeting or workshop where any form of dance was featured – until last night when I attended the excellent Knowledge Cafe run by Alida Acosta and accompanying tango dancers.

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Can supermarkets deliver? Ocado vs Waitrose – Service Smackdown

This is the first – in a series of completely unfair, no-holds-barred customer service evaluations of two similar providers based on recent experiences. First into the ring, Ocado, the pioneer online supermarket synonymous with Waitrose’s high-end brands. And leaping over the ropes, here comes – uh – Waitrose, the high-end online supermarket. Confused? This post won’t help – but might illustrate how to get some basics right in this highly competitive area. Seconds out, round one. Continue reading “Can supermarkets deliver? Ocado vs Waitrose – Service Smackdown”