Monday, March 31, 2008

The Customer is NOT Always Right? Duh.

The customer is not always right?: or siding with your employees more might actually result in better customer service. Interestingly, this post drew over 250 comments after it was mentioned in the NYT. Alexander Kjerulf, of PositiveSharing Again, the question to ask might be "what's reasonable here"? and "how can this be made exceptional?" The example given in the piece is that one customer of southwest airlines complained about everything. When bumped up to the CEO, he said "Goodbye, we shall miss you". Perhaps, "I've called my friend over at Virgin Airlines, and they would be delighted to take your business, and as a parting gesture, we have transferred all your travel miles to Virgin so you can get off to a flying start". Might seem counter-intuitive, but I bet that word would have went around.

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Mat Atkinson said...

Was it Henry Ford who said "If I had listened to my customers I would have built them a faster horse"?

True innovation requires a company NOT to respond slavishly to every customer request.

Paul Sweeney said...

Hi Mat. Yes it was. And famously, Sony would not have built the walkman. There is an ongoing negotiation between ability to generate real customer and market insight. Too early, and nobody understands the offer, too late, the the marketing costs of regaining market position are disproportionate. I guess the phrase come across most often at conferences etc. is "I'm here to get some kind of insight". The funny thing thing is most people seem to think they will get this from a competitor offering (de facto). Benchmarking other industries isn't a bad start, but reading different magazines, blogs, etc is a good stimulator as well.

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