Category Archives: Business

Customer Delight at the Speed of Thought

man is choosing happy,positive smile icon, concept of satisfaction and improvment

As a 7 year old I was a very curious lad. I was the kid that was asking all the questions. I expected that my parents would know all the answers and fairly fast. One day I wandered around the house and discovered something new, an encyclopedia set. I soon learned that I could get the answers for myself. I was excited.

Soon after I began to see the immense value of the school library, almanacs, and many different resources that would answer my questions. As time progressed I became more addicted to this ability to ask a question in my mind and then find an answer fairly quickly. However, I was unnerved that some of the questions I had, could not be answered by the library in country town I lived in.

As time progressed the computer revolution began and soon after the Internet. This changed my whole paradigm. I could now get almost every answer I needed based on how fast my fingers moved. It has become such an addictive resource, now my wife just randomly asks question to the air and expects me to find the answer! And even further, I have questions that haven’t even popped up in my head yet. Answered via an app push notification to me on my phone. My excitement and delight is complete.

This human behavioral transformation into immediacy as the norm has developed in all parts of our lives. I remember the brick and mortar call centers of the 90’s. How we were all comfortable waiting for an email for a few days. Then we transitioned to waiting on hold for a few minutes. Now we are addicted to getting an on demand response. We have a problem and we want it solved now. If it isn’t solved, we will just find a company that will solve it on our terms.

Companies that get this, really thrive. Now pulling on that string further, imagine a company delivers a service on demand. Now the customer’s expectations are even more immediate, they want you to predict when a problem may exist and prevent it from ever happening. The appetite for error or service latency is non-existent. Customers pay a premium for now and they what they pay for. I mean you would to, right?

The future of customer service draws me back to a book I read a decade ago,“The Best Service is No Service” by Bill Price and David Jaffe. The concept being that customers actually don’t want help, they just want a simple, seamless, and high quality product or service that works. They want companies to anticipate their thoughts and build and evolve around them. They want to be delighted by never having a negative experience. They want delight and that’s all they want.

The future of customer service is actually not service at all, its product delight. If companies build products that never require a question, that never elicit a negative feeling, then true customer success arrives. It is these companies that invest in the beginning of the cycle that will be the future of industry and business. In the late 90’s an old measure of the cost of service in a company was if your service costs were 6% of revenue you were world class. I would propose that if your service costs are greater than 1% of revenue, you are failing at true customer delight.

If you are a CEO or Founder in a company, I would encourage you to not hire people to solve customer problems after the fact, I would implore you to hire the smartest, most talented product managers and engineers. Empower them to build it right from the beginning and never allow your customer service team to be more than 1% of revenue. If you do it right your customer service team will be the smallest team in your company. And your customers will have no choice, but to be loyal to you.

Ultimately the choice is up to you, as a customer that wants delight at the speed of thought, please make the right product decisions today, so I don’t have to talk to your customer service reps tomorrow!

I mean think about it, if I am talking to your customer service team, I am not spending time getting addicted to your product.


Courtesy: “The Best Service is No Service” by Bill Price and David Jaffe.

Anna wants to do amazing things, so why does IT get in the way?

Anna walks in the door. She is starting her dream job. She has always wanted to work for this company, doing this thing, and be in this field. She has already imagined what the next few years will look like. She is ready to get to work, be productive, and make an impact.

The question is, does the company she chose to work for really think about Anna like she thinks about herself? From the moment Anna opens the door, her end user productivity experience begins. This is the experience that is going to enable her to do what she loves—her job, and hopefully do it really well.

A lot of companies build this experience from a technology, cost, or infrastructure view. They believe IT and the company make decisions that help the business, provide tools and solutions, and are cost effective. Then, they think about the end user productivity experience and hope it works out.

For Anna, she wants to work for a company that thinks about her, how she works, and how she and her team can be most productive together. For her, technology that supports an anytime- anywhere workplace mentality is vital. That’s the new world; that’s the productive world.

User Centric IT organizations have the ability to influence, empower, and drive productivity at the same rate as the businesses they support. At the same time, IT must manage and hide complexity from its end users, while managing risk and security for the company.

I believe in creating a simple, user centric experience that enables IT end users to be highly productive. This game changer will create more revenue for a company and create employee loyalty. Aternity, an enterprise software company specializing in end user experience management solutions, breaks this concept down in great detail on their End User Experience website.

In simple terms, employees may make future employment choices based on the experience with the technology within the company and how productive they can be with it.

We all have an Anna join our company every week. Are we going to help Anna reach her full potential? Will we enable her to truly grow and make lasting impacts within the company?

EQ+IQ=Amazing Business

Nicola Roark wrote a great piece about the difficulties of working together as spouses or partners titled – Why My Husband and I Won’t Work Together.  I found the piece to be a super insightful read.  It is always interesting to understand the person behind the professional.  I have seen family members work amazingly well together. However, I have also witnessed family businesses fail and marriages ruined.

As I was reading Nicola’s post, it reminded me of a recent workshop I attended that was led by Steve Gutzler, author, speaker, and executive coach. The workshop was titled Emotional Intelligence for Extraordinary Leadership.  If you have not invested time in emotional intelligence or EQ, I definitely recommend it.

Ok, back to Nicola’s great topic and how EQ plays a role in making it a success between spouses or partners at work…  I have worked together twice with my wife.  The first time it was a new thing.  It was odd and fun to have her a few cubes down from me.  The fun part was having lunch together daily and to see her in her work environment.  I definitely gained a new level of respect for her.

The odd part was that in the past, work was work and family time was family time.  As we worked together, I noticed that they started to intermix. As they intermixed, I started to see that our work personas were showing up at home, and our home personas were showing up at work. This created a new type of conflict and confusion. Our lives became homogenous, and our positions in each place changed. My wife and I definitely had some bumps in the road when we first started working together, but she helped me gain a new perspective. From her observation and feedback, I learned that I was not very self-aware and did not truly understand how people think and act. I was able to make changes in my behavior, which advanced my career. In turn, I was able to help her network and give her advice on business practices and relationships. Overall, it was a win-win situation. We both learned a lot from each other and were successful business partners.

A short time later I attended Steve Gutzler’s workshop (noted above).  It was like a light bulb went off for me.  Better stated, the IQ side of my head finally understood the EQ importance.  Perhaps it was because I am an introvert, perhaps it is because I placed a lot of emphasis on results instead of relationships, or perhaps it just took a hard headed guy a while to get it.  Whatever it was, it helped me truly understand the value of relationships and people.  A friend of mine once said, “people do business with people.”  This phrase stuck with me then and stays with me today.

So now you may be wondering what happened the second time we worked together? Overall, it was great.  We had very little conflict or confusion.  We were able to keep different parts of our lives in their proper area.  We were also able to intermix our different personas much more effectively.  This time I felt like it was a great success.

What was different?  I credit it to better understanding the Emotional Intelligent side of me and allowing my EQ to become more influential in my professional life.

I personally believe that if we all let our true selves out a bit more and understand other people’s true selves, we will always work better together.  We will be kinder to one another, work harder for one another, better support each other, and ensure success for each other as a team.  Whether it is a family member at home or a colleague at work, I believe treating everyone with a good measure of emotional intelligence can make all the difference for the company to succeed!

The 5 Minute Difference

Life is busy. It seems that each year it gets busier. I stop and smell the roses and the seasons have already changed and the roses are gone. There is so much to do. I must go, go, go. It is all important stuff, right? I can’t drop a ball or let anything fall between the chairs. People are depending on me.

How many of us have felt like this? I imagine all of us to some degree or measure. We all react differently to these situations. Some people do it all, perhaps cutting corners. Some people let things fail and then are overly critical of themselves, and then some just give up and don’t try. So how do people really balance the busy?

Perhaps it is just 5 minutes. 5 minutes to:

  • Brainstorm and do blue sky thinking
  • Plan out the day and all of your work
  • Prioritize and decide what not to do or what to delay
  • To finish what you are doing and ensure it is always done in high quality

I remember growing up my mom would ask if I know the difference between a good job and a great job…5 minutes.

I guess that what I learned as a child can be completely relevant to what I do in business. And maybe, just maybe I can enjoy the roses this next go round.