Alignment, Inclusion and High Performance at Costco.com

One of the great keys to alignment is knowing how your work and the work of others fit together in the bigger picture to drive the organization in a common direction. Its not enough just to know your own goals, but know the goals of the teams and workgroups around you. I rarely find that in organizations, and I have traveled all over the world looking into organizations and their inner workings. Continue reading

If I have to choose, I’ll take no customer service

Not the kind of crowd a business needs on Saturday night.

Not the kind of crowd a business needs on Saturday night.

This is Hollywood video in my neck of the woods, on a Saturday night, about 6 pm. This is the time that the place should be full of people, grabbing their evening’s entertainment.  I don’t know if the picture shows just how large and empty the parking lot is, but there is nobody there.  No, it’s not closed.  It’s just not wanted any more. It’s paying the price of a rapidly outdated business model and ineffective customer relationships (do you see the link between the two?). Most businesses probably won’t realize that the latter feeds their ills, but in reality, it does.

Lets play a little “If you give a mouse a muffin”, an exercise in systemic thinking.

If your business model is stagnating, it’s probably because you are not keeping up with and thinking ahead of stakeholder needs. If you’re not keeping up with stakeholder needs, it’s probably because you are not communicating well with them. If you are not communicating well with them, you probably have ineffective customer relationships. And, of course, if you have that, then you have a declining business model. And the cycle continues.

I’m sure that 10 out of 10 marriage counselors will tell you that communication is the underlying cause for relationship failures.  Communication is not merely message-sending.  We’ve all met too many managers that think that just because they ‘told’ you, you should know.  Look how many businesses do the same with their customers.  There are strict guidelines, policies and corporate departments that drive and enforce branding. But behind the look and feel is the experience that really makes the brand.  And customer service is the front-line infantry in the war for acquisition, retention and loyalty.

So, we took this picture on our way to the redbox at the grocery store.  My wife looked at the Hollywood Video and commented that we could probably get a video there for free, and I replied that there was no way that I was going to go there (You see, we had a bit of a customer service experience there in the past and I decided then and there that I would never give them another dollar).  In complete agreement, she said,

“If I have to choose between no customer service and lousy customer service, I’ll take no customer service.”

And I echoed the thought.  I mean really, with no customer service from a machine, at least my expectations are met.  I’d rather meet my expectations than be let down.