In this issue, I talk about how the best business-to-consumer companies have raised service expectations so much that if you are in B2B you may need to raise your game, and fast. The good news is that it can be quick, inexpensive and impactful to do so using resources you already have.
I also suggest some further resources for getting a customer-eyed view of your business, and explain the story behind my book The Performance Papers: Incisive briefings for busy leaders.
I visited my car dealership to have a retractable wing-mirror motor replaced. The work was done under warranty. While I waited, I helped myself to a free cappuccino, logged on to the free Wi-Fi and basically had as productive a time as I would have had in the office.
A few other customers were doing the same. Periodically, a smartly-dressed member of staff would pop into the waiting area to provide someone with an update: “They’ve polished that scratch out now, Mrs. Jones, and are just fitting the new tyre.”
The car was sorted before I knew it, and had been washed as an unadvertised courtesy.
Just before I started the engine, I received a text from Amazon on my iPhone. It informed me that the book I had ordered the evening before had now been dispatched and would be delivered later that day. I enjoyed starting the book in the late afternoon.
In both cases the service was great. What I particularly appreciated was being kept informed of progress, so that I could coordinate my business day.
Is this level of service remarkable? It would have been only a few years ago, but now, we take it pretty much for granted. And all your customers, and all your employees, take it for granted too.
Here are some questions to consider with your team:
- Do we do all we can to keep customers informed of progress, so that they can plan accordingly and feel in control of their workload?
- How can we improve today using low cost methods we already have to hand?
- How can we use these improvements to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace?
The Performance Papers started life as a series of articles I had written for internal use by clients. Each one was aimed at a particular leadership challenge, such as building tomorrow’s company while running today’s, dealing with an increasingly ambiguous world, and getting buy-in and alignment from employees. One day it occurred to me that I had nearly enough material for a book, and worked with a talented editor, Charlie Wilson, and the publishing team at Bookshaker, to create a guide that you could read from cover to cover, or dip into as an issue arose. Learn more, or to buy a copy, you can visit the book’s webpage here.