Roy's Blog: September 2010

September 19, 2010

CARING is strategic and binary


Tom Peters in his new book Little BIG Things talks about CARING and how critical it is to any organization searching for eXellence. Its one of the things that Peters does so well: take an apparently small trait and argue successfully that it is Strategic, of the utmost importance to any business and is an “Essence Dimension” of the journey to greatness.

CARING fits nicely into BE DiFFERENT or be dead as one of the factors that will set you apart from the competitive herd. Sad really. ALL organizations should at the very least CARE about people as a basic human character.

CARING is a binary concept. Either you CARE or you Don’t.

As an organization, you don’t get Loyalty Points for claiming you CARE “most of the time”, or that you “mostly CARE”, or that you “slightly CARE”. It’s like saying a woman is “slightly pregnant”. Can’t happen.

The CARE thread weaves through everything we do as an organization and is highly visible to each and every customer we have. Here are some aspects of your business that you need to examine through your CARING lens:
> (Consistent) ATTITUDE. ATTITUDE. ATTITUDE. of all employees. CARING attitude 24X7 needed. Even when they are having a bad day. Nothing else will do.
> Rules, Policies and Procedures must accommodate a customer nor drive them wild. You can’t make the CARING Claim and then put your customers through the Process Pain Mill every time they want to transact with you.
> Knowledge & Competencies of people If you CARE, you make sure your employees know what they are talking about across all aspects of your business. When is the last time you did Refresher Training for your Frontline?
> Appearance and Cleanliness of your premises. Washrooms clean? Floors swept? Old carpets replaced?
> CARE on the outside. Are you active in the community? Do you take your CARE Claim to the not-for-profit sector? You can’t CARE on the inside and turn your back on your community responsibility.
> Problem Solving. Are your people problem solvers? LISTENING, ASKING QUESTIONS, FINDING SOLUTIONS scream that you CARE. Their absence yells “We really don’t give a damn”.
> Your language. How do you refer to your customers? Do you use words such as ‘transaction’, ‘call’ or ‘committment’? Use of these types of inanimate descriptions certainly don’t position you well on the CARING scale.
> Serving Leaders shows CARING for employees. If you don’t CARE about your own people you will NEVER show honest affection to your paying customers.

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Other articles you might like
Customers are way too much trouble
If you want to be “customer driven” DON’T say…
You service cars; you SERVE people

  • Posted 9.19.10 at 12:00 pm by Roy Osing
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September 16, 2010

Why don’t they teach “Successful Failing”  in business schools?

Five more courses that should be added to all business teachings:

1. The ‘Right’ Solution doesn’t exist. I have a math degree and came out of university believing that there was a definitive solution to every problem. Imagine my dismay when I went into the business world. Regression analysis yielded forecasts that were flawed. Differential equations had no practical use. In business, the ‘Right’ Solution is the one that can be successfully executed. It may NOT be theoretically pristine. It’s strategic essence may lack a dimension or two of perfection. BUT people are willing and able to bring it to life. So it IS the ‘Right’ solution given the specific circumstances of the organization. What works in business is finding a solution that is just about Right and executing it flawlessly. EXECUTE. EXECUTE. EXECUTE.

2. Successful Failing is the road to success is screwing up BUT learning from it so value can be added to the intellectual property of the organization. In fact one could argue that the objective of Innovation is to Successfully Fail as often as possible thereby increasing ideation and the chances of success. Want to impede progress? Punish failing. Corollary to this teaching, however, is never fail at the same thing twice! It means you didn’t learn anything the first time you failed.

3. The “Customerized” Organization puts the CEO at the BOTTOM of the organization chart. This is the design criteria of the Serving Leadership type of structure where the underlying culture is to serve people who serve the customer. The frontline employee is at the TOP of the structure with the most critical leadership position, the Frontline Leader, right below them. Management’s role changes from Command and Control to Lead and Serve.

4. Screw-ups build Loyalty if an organization has a Dazzling Recovery Strategy. The formula: Fix the problem AND do something the customer DOESN’T expect. Its all about the WOW factor. People expect you to fix a mistake you have made - and remember the ‘I’M SORRY’ entry - but they don’t expect you do go the extra mile while doing so. If you do, they will be blown away, tell others how great you are and stay with you in spite of your screw-up. Ever had a Dazzling Recovery course?

5. Ignore the Competition and pay attention to the customer. There is too much emotional energy consumed worrying about the competitive hordes entering your markets to compete with you. Erecting Barriers to Competitive Entry is a part of every Marketing program.
Creating Barriers to Customer Exit is not. Crazy. Take your eye off your customer and you give license to your competitor to put their value proposition in front of them. Lavish your customers with love and attention and create the shield that repels the bad guys. Focus on your customer. Observe your competitor.

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Related Blog Articles
Teach Cut the Crap
Teach Customer Secrets
Teach The Apology

  • Posted 9.16.10 at 01:00 pm by Roy Osing
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September 13, 2010

Who really should be on top of your organization structure?

Results are delivered by your Frontline. PERIOD.

Customer loyalty is controlled by your Frontline. PERIOD.

Dazzling customer moments are orchestrated by your Frontline. PERIOD.

First Impressions are delivered by your Frontline. PERIOD.

The imperfections of your business processes are masked by your Frontline. PERIOD.

Lasting Impressions depend on your Frontline. PERIOD.

Frontline job satisfaction depends on the Frontline leader NOT the CEO, NOT the Operations executive and NOT the EVP of Human Resources. PERIOD.

Therefore the Frontline Leader (FL) is of the utmost strategic importance to any organization and deserves a disproportionate priority by “upper management”. Furthermore, FL positions should demand a careful and rigorous recruitment process that ensures THE most skilled and competent people are awarded custodianship of the Frontline.

Does your organization:

-  have “insanely tough” credentials for FL positions?

-  engage Frontline employees themselves in team targeted interviews for a FL?

-  do Frontline people actually influence the selection decision of a FL?

-  have an incredibly detailed recruitment process for FL roles?

-  recognize the FL as a Top Notch role that requires support from the rest of the organization?

-  fill FL positions with accomplished Servers as opposed to technical experts?

-  honour a chosen FL with wide-spread internal communication?

-  include a FL assignment in the career path plan for high potential employees?

Successful organizations recognize the FL as their “Guardians of Strategy Execution” and give them the critical attention they deserve.

Do you?

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 9.13.10 at 01:00 pm by Roy Osing
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September 7, 2010

Why don’t they teach “Vary the treatment”  in business schools?

Five more subjects that should get focus in business schools but rarely get the attention they deserve:

1. Customer Learning (CL) is NOT Market Research. CL is a continuous process of learning as much as you can about the customers you have chosen to SERVE. It is a core competency that never gets outsourced. It gets done by all employees and is the force behind Customerizing your organization.


2. A Customer Secret is an innermost deep desire that your customer has, or it can be a trait or characteristic of the person that no one else knows. People find difficulty in sharing their secrets and do so only with people and organizations they have developed a deep relationship with and trust. Secrets power the BE DiFFERENT Offer Creation process. They fuel the ability to personalize VALUE for the individual and enable organizations to get away from looking at the ‘average’ customer.

3. A VBHO is a package of VALUE not a product or service. VBHO’s reflect the broad Holistic needs, wants and desires of a person as opposed to a narrow range of features-based needs. VBHO are more expressive of EXPERIENCES and not material goods. They are premium priced not discounted as the Bundling world persists in doing.

4. The Serving Customers Model puts the customer in the control position of determining what they want their service experience to look like. It is a fundamental shift from ‘Customer Service’ in which organizations decide the level and ingredients of how customers are served. Customer Service has the company in control. Costs of supplying service are high priority determinants of what the service experience looks like.

5. The Vary the Treatment Principle is played out by recognizing that no two people are equal and that if you want to create Dazzling Moments for an individual you need to vary how you treat them. Consistent treatment of everyone will result in variable levels of customer satisfaction. Variable levels of treatment will result in consistently high levels of customer satisfaction. The prime criteria, therefore, in designing a Serve-the-Customer Strategy needs to be the capability to create a Vary the Treatment relationship with each customer you choose to SERVE.

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Related Blog Articles
Teach Cut the Crap
Teach The Apology
Teach Successful Failing

  • Posted 9.7.10 at 01:00 am by Roy Osing
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