Thursday, March 04, 2010

Take Their Breath Away Service

I will be happy to be back from Spain today. It seems like a long time to be away. My ToDo list has grown and needs some action. Perhaps I should read my blog post on how to handle too many things to to.

One of the impressive speakers at the YPO conference was David Suzuki. He seems to be a nice person with a level head. He understands that small steps can make a big environmental impact (like eating one vegetarian meal per week). He also understands that economics drive behavior so the best way to create behavior change is to change the economics (make things cost more or less)

I recently read Take Their Breath Away: How Imaginative Service Creates Devoted Customers
by Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson.

This is a book with a number of short stories about highly successful companies that have been imaginative in their customer service to create a major differentiation.

The book starts with twelve different strategies that can take people's breath away.
1. Animation
2. Reinvention
3. Decoration
4. Camouflage
5. Concierge
6. Partnership
7. Cult-Like
8. Luxury
9. Air
10. Air Defense
11. Scout's Honor
12. Firefighter


Animation is having the positive attitude that is somewhat unusual in dealing with customers.

The following spirit of greatness pledge sums it up.
"I promise to be in charge of my attitude each and every day, to let no one affect that attitude at any time, and to be a contagious spirit of greatness-- 24/7, 365 days a year!"

Under reinvention, Andy Grove sums this up. "Breakthroughs come from an instinctive judgement of what customers might want if they knew to think about it"

Decoration is simply setting yourself apart by having better window designs, layout, unique surroundings, logos, business cards, etc.
A list of the following are:
-Theme
-Sense
-Simple Sense
-Comfort
-Function
I'm not going to elaborate on these, you'll have to read the book to get that.

The book uses a series of vignettes about real people, real businesses that have set themselves apart by uniqueness in customer service. What I like about the theory is that many of the uniquenesses don't seem to cost much but do help differentiate the business.

It also reinforced focus. Often one service differentiator was all it took.

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