Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Little Bitching.

In a letter commenting on a Harvard Business Review article on customer service, the president of a consulting company specializing in costumer service commented that only emotionally satisfied customers increased their spending because “The reason is quite simple. Customers expect satisfactory customer service, so providing it does not translate into increased loyalty and value.”

But that’s wrong. We don’t ‘expect satisfactory customer service’. We hope for it, we wish for it, but what we expect -- is to be disappointed.

My wife ordered 4 filters from Sam’s Club online. When the box arrived, the exterior box was undamaged, but inside one of the filter boxes was ripped open and the filter damaged, and another filter box was filthy dirty. In other words, the filters were in this condition before they were packed.

I called Sam’s Club customer service on December 30th and spoke to a representative who told me she would have the two bad filters replaced.

Then, a couple of weeks later the Sam’s Club representative called about the filters. She said she spoke to the vendor and I needed to talk to the vendor. I said, “Vendor? what are you talking about, we ordered these from Sam’s Club.” After a brief discussion I suggested that she connect the two of us to the vendor and we resolve the issue together. She asked if she could put me on hold while she made the connection. I sat there on hold as long as I could which was an unusually long time but then had to run an errand and after 20 minutes I disconnected. I received no call back.

That evening I wrote a letter to Brian Cornell, the CEO of Sam’s Club letting him know what happened and suggesting that I should not have to talk to a vendor if I order from Sam’s. Otherwise, I should just order from the vendor, what value does Sam’s add in that case, it just adds a layer of complication that I don’t need. I asked that he please have someone resolve this little problem.

That was three weeks ago. I’ve heard nothing.

A Costco just opened up down the street...perhaps...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Engaged Employees Do It For Their Self-Worth.

Muhammad Yunus, who shared the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, understood the idea of linking personal values to the work performed. His Grameen bank established a set of stars signifying achievement of a particular goal for a branch. If the branch achieved all five goals, the branch received all five stars. The staff pursued these stars with a passion, even though the bank attached no financial incentives to the achievement. In his book Banker to the Poor, Yunus wrote, “They are not doing it for any monetary benefit. They are doing prove their worth to themselves.”

Yunus understood that people come up to, or down to, the level set for them by their environment. He wrote, “One cannot but wonder how an environment can make people despair and sit idle and then, by changing the conditions, one can transform the same people into matchless performers.” He saw this remarkable aspect of the human condition, just as Toyota had seen it. People respond to the environment into which they are thrust. To let them be their best, leaders need to establish the right environment to allow people the opportunity to prove their worth to themselves.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011