Burger… medium rare… cheddar… bacon on the side…

CRM Magazine (www.DestinationCRM.com) posted another inspiring piece by Lior Arussy titled “Self-Service Is Just Less-Than-Full Service” (October 2008). Using the direct line we have to the big dogs at CRM Mag I plopped the email below on Josh Weinberger (Managing Editor).

Yes, another inspiring piece from Lior Arussy, thanks. From my perspective the right answer is a bit more grey than it is black & white. First, the customer should be provided with “functionality” that meets their expectations. Sometimes we like and want self-service and get annoyed when I get “please call” or “please email”. Other times, we want live chat or to make that call. It depends. But the decision should be mine. If I see “features” elsewhere, from what I perceive as similar vendors, then I expect the same. No excuses. Btw, someday I hope companies start to offer a text message option.

Second, the brand should deliver nothing short of what they promise. It doesn’t do any good to just say, “We’re high end” or ” We’re customer focused.” It’s a new era and the brand has to walk the walk too. The customer expects what we all expect – to get what we pay for. Ideally, a little more. I don’t think it’s a question of self vs full but simply of customer expectations and value. Unfortunately, and I’m sure Mr Arussy would agree, too many decisions are made by MBAs with spreadsheets.

I believe that the hospitality industry is actually the model for all others to follow. They don’t have customers, they have guests. A lesson in deed for the rest of it. The fact is, it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, if your brand looks at everyone as guests – and treats them as such – then the dog will wag the tail as it’s supposed to. Unfortunately, these’s no function for that in Excel.

Bottom line… Good service – self or otherwise – is when I don’t feel like I made a mistake for wanting a hamburger at 3:00am. Yes, it might be a slightly unreasonable request. I’m only suggesting that I not be made to feel wrong for making it. So ask yourself, “How
does my company treat my guests?”

It’s The Excellence and The Guest Experience, Stupid! – Part 1

It’s so nice to be appreciated and acknowledged by those in your field/area of interest, isn’t it? After reading a couple great articles in CRM Magazine (www.DestinationCRM.com) I wrote in to provide some additional AU insights. The editors in turn decided to merge the two letters and publish them in their print version (July/August 2008 issue), as well as post on their web site.

To read the letter in, as well as links to the articles what inspired them (both of which are highly recommended), please click here.

Mr. Lior Arussy’s reply is also on point. His ability to pick up the lead and fill in the blank that my “straight guy” routine left off was flawless. It’s sad that too many hiring managers, decision makers, etc. overlook the fact that history is filled with countless examples where passion, belief and determination defeated the “superior” enemy (e.g., Giants over the Pats, David over Goliath).

Sure an MBA helps but being over-prepared, overconfident and boxed in by rules (when the market knows no rules) is rarely going to lead a team to reaching it’s full potential. But that’s the difference between organizations who are driven to succeed and those who are just trying to mitigate failure.