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August 2013
FACT: If we amaze our customers, business will grow.
By James La Barrie

     If this is true (and it is), why doesn’t every business make delivering amazing service a top priority? The answer is simple but, if a company has been sinking resources in the wrong areas, potentially costly. To grow business exponentially, the chief investment must be in the company culture and the people—the right people—we hire to support it.

 

Emphasis on Culture

     Dream of the perfect work environment. How do you feel throughout your workday? What are your coworkers like? How’s the environment? Structured or more relaxed? Whatever the answer to these questions, this is what culture is about.

     The concept and importance of corporate culture is something that many companies are just now grasping. We spend so much time at work, shouldn’t it be enjoyable? Meaningful? Rewarding? We are more productive when we are happy, and business leaders are seeing the light. Providing a fulfilling work environment is not just for trail-blazing entrepreneurial companies; it’s for every company.

     Once the corporate culture has been established, the next step is ensuring the right people are in place to support the vision—from the top slice of the organizational chart to the very last layer. This is critical.

 

Customer Service is Passionate

     When hiring, how much significance should be placed on work experience versus personality? Would it be fair to suggest that passionate people are hungry to learn and to please both their employers and customers? If greater emphasis were placed on personality first and experience a close second, the work environment—and bottom line—would shift in a positive direction.

     Consider Mark Sanborn’s viewpoint in his book The Fred Factor: “Uninspired people rarely do inspired work. Passionate people in an organization are different. They do ordinary things extraordinarily well.” Sanborn emphasizes that “Customers don’t have relationships with organizations; they form relationships with individuals. Passionate employees, whether they are salespeople, technicians or service reps, constantly show their commitment to customers. They do this by demonstrating their passion about what they do.”

     To illustrate how this theory works in practice, let’s take a look at the Zappos.com business model.

     Zappos.com, the online shoe store, saw over a billion dollars in gross sales in 2009. How does a company that practices nontraditional marketing methods move so much product? Their secret to success is no secret at all; they proudly and openly share their ideas. In fact, the company annually holds a multi-day conference called Zappos Insights focused on culture and customer service training.

     Their corporate culture and hiring practices are so intentional and specific, it is said that it is easier to get into Harvard than to work in the Zappos call center. They would prefer a position to remain open for months than to hire the wrong person.

     Skill set takes a secondary role to personality and how it will affect and complement the company’s culture. When walking through the halls of Zappos, employee enthusiasm and energy is palpable because the right people are working together with a common purpose—“delivering wow through service.”

     Their dedication to extraordinary service has allowed Zappos to set a wave in motion. The Zappos customer is delighted, amazed and inspired and willingly becomes part of a word-of-mouth machine.

     Consistently delivering stellar service requires a strategy. The heart of a company must beat for the people, not the bottom line. The focus must be on treating all stakeholders well, customers and employees. Establish and foster a vision-based culture, hire and nurture the right people and customers will feel it. They will be amazed, and your business will grow.

 

Content contributed by Beyond Marketing, a company bringing success to its clients by combining five-star service systems with powerful marketing. Services offered include Web design, brand development, service workshops and public speaking engagements. For more information contact James La Barrie at 704-268-9338 or visit www.amazethecustomer.com.

James La Barrie is Founder of Beyond Marketing, a company bringing success to its clients by combining five-star service systems with powerful marketing.
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