All Posts Tagged With: "customer focus"
In our dynamic business world, where consumers are constantly revising their preferences and trying to make their own small businesses (their homes) run smoothly, business leaders need to ensure their company is honing its services to those evolving customer needs. Revisiting the Baldrige Criteria can keep us in check by reminding us how important it is to respect customer individuality. As explained in its customer focus section,
“Knowledge of customers, customer groups, market segments, former customers, and potential customers allows your organization to tailor product offerings, to support and tailor your marketing strategies, to develop more customer-focused workforce culture, to develop new business, and to ensure organizational sustainability.”
This certainly seems pretty straightforward, but the knowledge of your customers, and development for customer-focused workforce culture are carrying heavier weight than ever in today’s economy, and business leaders need to act fast to keep up. The meaning of customer respect and service is essentially becoming a leading marketing asset for businesses aspiring for success, versus just a “good idea.” Quality customer service can have a greater impact on your business than quality marketing.
Author of Leadership Matters: CEO Survival Guide, Mike Myatt, is an expert in business leadership and recently contributed in Forbes magazine about the absolute need …Joseph A. De Feo | 0 comments | Continued
The customer is potentially the most important element of a successful business equation. The Baldrige Criteria asks organizations how they engage their customers, how they communicate with them, and how they attract an ever-growing audience of captivated, satisfied customers. A recent blog post on the Harvard Business Review (HBR) by authors Donald Reinertsen and Stefan Thomke entitled, “Customers Don’t Want More Features” touches on these points that are worth reiterating.
Reinertsen and Thomke explain a common myth about product development that revolves around more features being added into a particular product directly relating with customer satisfaction. The thought is that customers will always choose the product that has more options, add-ons, features, extras, and doodads, due to the assumption of those features “adding value.” On the contrary, simplified and “base model” products are perceived as being less valuable. The HBR authors make an excellent point, “This attitude explains why products are so complicated: Remote controls seem impossible to use, computers take hours to set up, cars have so many switches and knobs that they resemble airplane cockpits, and even the humble toaster now comes with a manual and LCD displays.”
Rather than buying into this traditional approach of product development and adding more feature layers with every new model, …Joseph A. De Feo | 0 comments | Continued
The Baldrige Criteria for Excellence ask how you govern and fulfill your societal responsibilities, with specifications regarding reductions in environmental impacts through the use of “green” technology, resource-conserving activities, or improvements in social impacts such as volunteering or charity work. Ethical behavior is also included in this category, with considerations for key processes and measures or indicators of quality ethics. Milliken, a textiles company that was founded in 1865, knows firsthand what it takes to earn a Baldrige Award, as they were recipients back in 1989. Since being granted the Award, Milliken has diversified to a much more expansive organization, which now produces all sorts of different specialty chemicals and textiles, from the fabric that reinforces duct tape, to the products that make mattresses fire resistant, the antimicrobial coatings on countertops, and thousands of other patents.
Milliken takes a unique route when it comes to encouraging innovation from within. The idea began as a method of allowing lab researchers to run with their curiosity until they’d reached a marketable end. Researchers can use 15% of their time to investigate whatever they like, while proven innovators get 50%. Laurie Haughey, Director of Education Services at Milliken, believes that this type of practice will lead the way to breakthrough …Joseph A. De Feo | 0 comments | Continued
In 2007, Sharp HealthCare of San Diego County was a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient. Operations and activities of the entire hospital group are aligned under Sharp’s Six Pillars of Excellence – Quality, Service, People, Finance, Growth, and Community. Engineering Operations Manager of the Sharp Grossmont Hospital, Andy Grossman, was recently tasked with the responsibility of making sure everybody from the custodial staff to the transplant surgeons are making Sharp patients feel more welcome, engaged, and at ease; to generally increase customer focus. It should come as no surprise to readers that a Baldrige Award winning hospital would employ a particularly unassuming idea into a brilliant one.
Sharp Grossmont Hospital is surrounded by more than 300 rose bushes, meticulously maintained by a team of five landscaping crewmen. These men typically spent the vast majority of their days outside, and really only knew how to get to the restrooms and the cafeteria inside the hospital. On a random occasion, Grossman had seen the men cut and hand out single roses to patients, visitors, and employees who happened to be strolling through the grounds. He noticed the smiling faces and recognized instantly that this small act could be the key to bringing the whole Sharp staff together.
A program entitled “This …Joseph A. De Feo | 0 comments | Continued
I grew up in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod: baptized and confirmed, eight years in parochial school, Sunday School and church every Sunday, graduated from Concordia College in St. Paul and taught for four years in a Missouri Synod elementary school. Concordia is a popular Missouri Synod name: The Concordia University System includes ten colleges and universities, many of the synod’s churches use the Concordia name, and the publishing arm of the synod is the Concordia Publishing House (CPH), which is the only non-healthcare recipient of the 2011 Baldrige Award.
It’s a well-deserved honor. CPH has 247 employees and revenues of $35 million and provides more than 8,000 products to members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. It excels at customer service, starting with 98% customer satisfaction scores, exceeding the benchmark for U.S. call centers. It’s Customer Call Center has been considered a “Center of Excellence” by Purdue University each of the last three years.
Innovation helps CPH build customer relationships. Its Center for Client Retention collects and analyzes data from customers of competitors, categorizing sales and customer trends in more than 50 different ways to correlate product sales and types of customers. Its Emerging Products team studies how to use new technologies to deliver innovative products. The number of electronic products …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued
It’s always refreshing to hear a company that excels at serving customers describe its approach, especially when that company is in an industry that generally treats its customers like cattle.
Hawaiian Airlines has ranked among the leaders in customer service for years and is routinely ranked first by the US Department of Transportation for on-time performance and fewest cancellations. Charles Nardello oversees aircraft, flight, and customer service operations at Hawaiian Airlines. In a recent article on the HBR Blog Network, he discusses how the airline improved operational performance while maintaining service excellence, citing three things a company must do well “to maintain an unbeatable level of operational excellence: (1) Get very close to their customer; (2) Benchmark against itself on a consistent basis; and, (3) Empower employees to address the unexpected.”
A customer focus permeates Hawaiian Airlines. “For every decision we make, from the most basic to the complex, the customer always comes first—they are the driver of our decision-making and strategic planning,” writes Nardello. A culture that brings the customer perspective to every decision acts far differently than a company where customers are an afterthought or are only considered when addressing customer issues.
Hawaiian Airlines has an independent agency survey customers every month on their experiences with the airline …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued
According to a recent survey of 50,000 consumers in 14 countries including the US, 70% of the brands we interact with could disappear entirely and we wouldn’t notice it.
The survey also found that 20% of the brands we interact with have a positive impact on our lives.
Which list would your company make? (You can see two Top 10 brand lists at the end of this article.)
Umair Haque, director of the Havas Media Labs, explains the difference: “Did this brand make you fitter, wiser, smarter, closer? Did it improve your personal outcomes? Did it improve your community outcomes? Did it pollute the environment? We’re trying to get beyond ‘did this company make a slightly better product’ to the more resonant, meaningful question: Did this brand actually impact your life in a tangible, lasting, and positive way?”
I’ve written before about corporate social responsibility and how companies are embracing it to gain a competitive advantage (here and here), which is one part of the conclusions drawn by the Meaningful Brands survey and Haque. The other part is that companies are creating enduring brands by creating value for their customers, making them “fitter, wiser, smarter, closer,” to use Haque’s description.
This is where integrating the Baldrige model can …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued