Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Competitive Customer Service

In my customer service classes I discuss the fact that some organizations (like mine) and their competition do things so similarly that the only way to distinguish themselves as the better organization is through superior customer service. The quality of employees and services are the only distinctions between organizations that provide the same or similar service.

I read a great example of this in the book Blue Streak, by Barbara S. Peterson. In beginning the discussion about JetBlue U (university), the trainer for the flight attendants comes in the first day still upset about the JetBlue flight he had had the prior day. One of the attendants on his flight seemed like he was "not really there" for various reasons. [I'm making a long story short here] The attendant didn't do anything bad and wasn't rude. But this is exactly why people want to work - and fly - at JetBlue. "The sort of indifferent service that one would take for granted on another (most) airline would gain you some very unwelcome attention" at JetBlue.

JetBlue does the same "job" as many other airlines. They fly people from point A to point B. But if you talk about customer service within the airline industry, who's name is at the top (along with Southwest)? JetBlue.

Be the paradigm shift. So many organizations can benefit from this kind of thinking. Why was Disneyland successful so quickly? One of the reasons was in a paradigm shift of what amusement parks were like. When Walt started Disneyland his wife would ask him, "But why do you want to build an amusement park? They're so dirty." To this he replied that, "mine wouldn't be".

Don't bank on, "this is the way it's done everywhere else". That will just make you look like "everyone else". Train from the start to be the best of the best.

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