#1 Posted: 23 Aug 2012 10:58
Did you ever think about how to put successful business strategy into the simplest terms possible? You might say it is to offer a quality, reliable product or service at a fair price, and treat the customer well throughout the process.
Sounds too simple? Well, according to Apple's first marketing brochure, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
Many successful companies strive for simplicity in the way they do business. Nordstrom's is a legend in this area. Its "employee handbook" is actually one page, with two sentences: "Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules."
Another brief, yet compelling customer service motto can be found outside every one of Stew Leonard's Fresh Farm Stores — carved into a 6,000-pound piece of granite no less. The two rules that greet every employee and customer are simple: "Rule 1: The Customer is Always Right! Rule Two: If the Customer Is Ever Wrong, Reread Rule 1."
Whether or not you have ever been a guest of the Ritz-Carlton, you are probably familiar with the company's fine reputation. Employees are expected to follow its simple motto, "We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen."
Ace Hardware has basically simplified its image into just one word. Its slogan, "The helpful place," revolves around one word: helpful. What word would you choose to convey what your business is about? Think about the image that you want to project to customers — it might be reliable, confident, easy, understanding — whatever you want be.
While simplicity is a good starting place, once you have formulated a customer service motto or slogan, things do get a bit more involved. To apply the concept takes proper hiring and training of employees, continuous reinforcement and developing a customer-focused culture.
Look beyond Stew Leonard's two simple customer service rules and you will find an organized system. Customer comments are collected in a suggestion box, and the suggestions — about 100 each day — are typed up by 10 a.m. the next day, and store managers review them and act on every one. Also, each month, customers are invited to participate in a focus group for employees.
So where does the simplicity lie? It is in spelling out, in basic terms, the customer service goal of your business. Whether it is one word or a clear motto, it gives direction to your customer service efforts when you know what you are trying to achieve. The eventual reward of making a plan to deliver the best possible experience will be a growing number of both loyal and new customers.