Jim Parker, ex CEO for Southwest Airlines, which makes more profit than ALL other airlines combined and leads the airline industry in customer satisfaction, has authored a book, Do the Right Thing, that I’d highly recommend. In the book he discusses how, on many different levels throughout the organization, SWA employees exemplify this do-the-right-thing attitude on a daily basis. In fact, he explained how the permeation of this simple concept is one of SWA’s most significant competitive advantages.
Traveling throughout the nation on a regular basis, I’ve witnessed the SWA culture versus others airlines many times. And there’s a huge chasm between the competing companies. SWA is famous for having off-duty employees assist the working crew during a flight and not earn a single penny for doing so. When I met Parker he summed it up this way, “Everyone needs to hand out peanuts … Create a culture where people want to do the right thing … understand you can’t make them do it. They have to want to.”
Take a Truth Tablet
How does your business score on this scale? Ask yourself the following:
• Does your organization—from top to bottom—all have the same concern for customer satisfaction?
• Are they working to help the customer achieve their goals, or are they simply collecting a paycheck?
• If all your employees were interviewed individually, would they recite the same company goals?
As scanning providers, I’d suggest the most successful are those who, like SWA, have a culture within their company that focuses on customer satisfaction. Don’t over promise and under perform.
How to Do That
So how do you implement a ‘do the right thing’ attitude within your company? It needs to start at the top by establishing the cornerstones of what your business goals are and how they relate to the customer. This has to be followed by internal recognition, training, and genuine appreciation of your team. Set clear expectations and allow room for honest, one-time mistakes. Without a common playbook and mutual respect, your team won’t want to help each other, and they certainly won’t be concerned about the client experience.
The Most Important Sales Person—Really
So who’s the most important sales person in your company? I’d suggest it’s not really a sales person at all, rather the laser scan technician who represents your company and is face to face with your client on an intimate project basis. He has the ability to single handedly make the client experience positive or negative. Sure, management has an effect, but the point of contact in the field will represent your company and can make or break a client experience.
“Your honor, if it please the court…”
If your company were on trial, being accused of providing an outstanding customer satisfaction experience, is there enough evidence to convict you?