Do You Have a Customer Service Chasm?

In a 2005 Bain and Company survey of 362 companies, a huge gap was identified between what customers experience versus what companies thought they were delivering.

The gap was not just huge, it was staggering! Only 8% of customers in this survey described their service experience as “superior” while 80% of the companies described the service they provide as “superior.”

Tom Peters calls this the 8/80 chasm!

I have experienced this 8/80 chasm on a few engineering projects over the years.

An engineering contract typically has a ton of detail built into it. Because of this, it is really easy to fall into the trap of “working to fulfill the contract” instead of working to understand exactly what the customer needs before you are too far down the design road to make adjustments.

When a project manager falls into this trap of managing to the contract, it is inevitable that they will encounter a customer who is not happy with the finished product. Usually, when this happens, the project is so far down the design path that the effort to get realigned with the customer’s expectations is extremely painful for both the project manager and the customer!

So what can businesses do to bridge this chasm or avoid it altogether?

How To Create A Powerful Newsletter And Why You Should Care

If your business does not issue a monthly newsletter, you are missing out on one of the easiest and most powerful ways to communicate to your employees!

A properly written newsletter can deliver timely and valuable information to employees in a consistent way that is hard to match with other types of media.

I have seen many examples of company newsletters over the years, from large oil companies to small engineering firms . . . from simple one pagers to monstrous 20+ pagers!

My favorite newsletter was one I received at a small employee owned organization. Although this one was not monthly, it did provide a great update on the company health, the money we were making, and where the business leaders thought we were headed.

What does a great newsletter look like and what are the benefits?

The Most Hated Business Tool Ever!

The Dreaded Performance Assessment

The original intent of a performance assessment was sincere, inspiring, and productive. Unfortunately, over the years, the performance assessment has singlehandedly become one of the most hated tools ever created! It is discouraging if not damaging for employees and is the bane of existence for most people managers.

As leaders, we must strive to implement tools and processes into our businesses that boost personal development, productivity, and profitability rather than the opposite!

My Experience

I have seen many different versions of performance assessments over the years. Some were effective, some were not, and some were simply demoralizing!  I have seen some years where:

How to Avoid a Marketing Apocalypse in Your Business

We have all heard of the “horsemen of the apocalypse” and the overwhelming devastation that they bring!

I recently attended a keynote by Wes Gay, marketing guru and regular contributor to Forbes, in which he painted a fairly scary picture of how our marketing communication looks to the general public. He was suggesting that poor communication in marketing campaigns is equivalent to unleashing the “horsemen of the apocalypse” on our businesses!

To his point, one does not have to look too far to find some massively destructive communication campaigns. Things like:

  1. Kenneth Cole and their 2011 Twitter message (in the midst of the Arab spring movement); “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online.” This message was retracted but there was damage done!
  2. The Coke fiasco around New Coke and Classic Coke back in the 1980’s. Did these new flavors mean that the old Coke was no good? This market communication fiasco was so monumental, we still talk about it today!
  3. How United Airlines responded by blaming the victim after social media showed smart phone video footage of a passenger being violently dragged off a flight. The public was stunned by United’s response and their stock price was impacted immediately.
  4. The Adidas’ tweet after the 2017 Boston Marathon “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” This was probably an innocent mistake and message was retracted quickly but not without brand damage.
  5. Dove airing a commercial that showed a black women turned white after using a Dove product. If you saw and understood the complete context of the advertisement it was probably fine. However, it was easily taken out of context and Dove was forced to pull the ad.

Wes Gay goes on to say there are four things that may seem innocuous at the time but can prove to be devasting to you and your organization. He calls these the 4 Horsemen of Marketing Communication

The 4 Horsemen of Marketing Communication

He defines the 4 Horsemen of Marketing Communication as:

Building a StoryBrand

Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

The book review for this week is Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller.

This is my pick for the business book of 2017!

In Building a StoryBrand Miller lays out his blueprint for building a highly focused business brand that makes the customer the hero of their own story. If you are not positioning your customer to be a hero (or worse, you are trying to make yourself the hero), you are not setting up your business for success!

My takeaway from this book is the StoryBrand framework shown below: