SMART objectives â€“ anyone whoâ€™s been trained in best practice for personal or project planning knows about them. Itâ€™s a convenient shorthand thatâ€™s found its way into common usage but is it any use? Sometimes I find a little redefinition is in order.
Recently I spent an evening at the theatre seeing Yazmina Rezaâ€™s new play God of Carnage. Itâ€™s got an excellent cast (perhaps the only time you can see DI Rebus, Voldemort and Debbie Archer in the same bill) and only detains you for about 95 minutes. Its central, rather bleak premise sparked thoughts about the conditions under which superior service flourishes.
Itâ€™s not often that you read a management book and think â€œeveryone should have a copy of thisâ€ but Jane Northcote â€“ management consultant and occasional contributor to this blog â€“ has written a book that everyone involved in change should read. Making Change Happen is quite simply Continue reading “Making Change Happen: the definitive book on change?”
There’s a new post in the business innovation series coming soon but in the meantime here’s a link to an interview I gave to NLP consultant Michael Beale on his websiteÃ‚Â – available as a transcript or podcast. I don’t practice NLP myselfÃ‚Â for anyone who’sÃ‚Â interested in the subjectÃ‚Â Michael is well worth contacting.
I also wrote an editorial on the relevance of the CharterMark for The Guardian‘s Guardian Public magazine. The magazine isn’t available online but I’m happy to share the article with anyone who’s interested – drop me an e-mail at email@example.com.
Asking your customers for suggestions seems like a great way to improve your services or products. Two recent items I came across suggest itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not something you should do without clearly thinking through what you are trying to achieve.
Report 103 is an excellent newsletter from Jeffrey Baumgartner on applied creativity and ideas in business and this weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s edition follows on nicely from my previous post about feedback. If you buy the idea that customer feedback is a rich source of service improvement ideas then proactively soliciting ideas from your customers (and non-customers) seems like an even better idea. Continue reading “Improve service: get ideas from anywhere?”
Putting customers second is possibly a counter-intuitive response to superior customer service but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s at the heart of creating an emotional connection. The point is not to disregard customers in favour of e.g. shareholder value, profit or some other measure but to put the needs of employees before those of customers. Continue reading “Getting a grip on emotions: 3) Putting customers second”
Customer surveys are a brilliant idea, no? No, not always. When you try to measure superior service and the emotional connection a customer has with you or your product, it can be difficult to get data that really helps pinpoint where and how to improve. In this article I will highlight some pitfalls in satisfaction surveys and measures and suggest some simpler approaches to measurement that will help drive the right kind of change. Continue reading “Getting a grip on emotions: 2) Who cares what you think?”
This week I will be putting up three posts on the emotional element of superior service. I will be covering:
1) How creating an emotional connection can build customer loyalty
2) Where customer surveys can let you down
3) Why, paradoxically, customers donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t always come first
First, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s look at how a positive emotional connection can build loyalty better than loyalty schemes. Continue reading “Getting a grip on emotions: 1) Customer loyalty”
Harvard Business School professor John Quelch writes in the HBS Online discussion forum this week on How To Be a Customer. It reinforces the point made in the earlier post on this blog about the customer’s role in getting superior service. To summarise, Quelch suggests five approaches: Continue reading “Harvard Business School suggests how to be a customer”
At the risk of turning this blog into a restaurant column, John Maeda’s excellent simplicity blog features an interesting item on his visit to a restaurant where his white table napkin was removed and replaced with a black one. Maeda treats this as an example of trust – by demonstrating an attention to detail. Continue reading “Simplicity, trust and black napkins”