Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
Jeff Bezos (you know him, he’s the CEO of the behemoth Amazon) is quoted in USA TODAY as saying that Day 2 is ‘stasis, followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death.’
Well Jeff, give it to us straight …don’t mince your words!
Which means that Day 1 is about ‘Vitality’ and keeping a laser focus on our customers and making sure they remain super-satisfied.
In other words, what Jeff is saying, and I think I’ve purchased enough through Amazon to call him Jeff, is that we have a choice to make. We can either think of our business as a vulnerable start-up, struggling to find space in the market and therefore heavily dependent on providing each customer with brilliant service. Or we can relax and take things for granted and take our foot off the business accelerator pedal. It’s a bit like a good old-fashioned Wild West shoot out where the two options are to be either the Quick or the Dead.
Jeff’s view is to start each day with Amazon as a Day 1 business and keep pushing hard to improve customer service and innovate. Now, I’m not making an opinion on Amazon, or inviting one, but it does make me wonder if I treat my business as a Day 1 business. Perhaps there are days when I’m happy to relax a bit and just take a breather from the helter-skelter pace my business can run at, and that might be the same for you too. Nothing wrong there, as I think it’s healthy to allow our energy time to recharge.
However, it does also make me realise that maybe each month I could set time aside to ask myself this question:
‘Let’s assume I’m a Day 1 business …who are my customers and what more can I do to delight them?’
There is always something more we can add to our product, or service, offering. I’ve offered customers free days to help with a project, or a free half day beach-walk coaching session as a thank you for booking regular corporate development work. We can all find ways to make life easier and more satisfying for our customers. If we take the car sector as an example, how many showrooms now have a comfortable seating area for customers, with good coffee, playthings for small children and free newspapers to read? Even the local trains now offer free power so passengers can recharge their tired smartphones on the way home from work.
If we have a team of colleagues working with us we can ask them for their views, or spend a day in our reception area to make sure customers are greeted warmly and their enquiries dealt with smoothly.
Our suppliers also play a key part in satisfying our customers and if we have great suppliers we can thank them for their service. If we have some poor ones though, perhaps it’s time to arrange a meeting, tell them what we need from them and set up key benchmark metrics, so we have clear performance standards to measure them against.
Whatever we choose to do, the message here is not to be complacent. If we really are acting like a Day 2 business then somewhere out there is a new start up, poised to pounce on our customer base, leaving us red in face and red in bank balance. We can all take a moment this week to be honest with ourselves, take time to be a Day 1 business and keep pushing hard to ensure our business is ahead of the competition.
Next week: Great Process Vs Great Discipline
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