Ok, so theoretically speaking a company can focus on 3 axis:
- Product Leadership
- Operational Excellency
- Customer Intimacy
(This diagram explains the theory further.)
Lately, I have been seeing amazing examples in how Customer Intimacy actually seems to drive long term sustainable growth. I am gonna take a few random examples from my own personal life and this is not based on any theory or study but just my instinct!
- Mark Geary– one of my favourite singers- pretty big in US/ Ireland/ Eastern Europe when it comes to singer/ songwriters. He reaches out to his fans through facebook, through myspace and becomes friends with them. Whether it’s an email to help me deal with a sh!t day or a surprise CD to acknowledge my love for his music, he is always there. There is no “I am the star” attitude. There is no “I don’t care for you” feeling. It’s all about a hug, a smile, a pint and a shared connection. Marky, you are my hero! Thanks for your music.
- The Bikini Shop– saw them on TV3 Expose yesterday and decided to check out the website. Now I am lucky or unlucky to have a figure that’s not the usual one and I don’t always get my size. Unfortunately the combination of sizes was not on the website so I decided to call them- and they gladly took my size, my preferences and are looking to help me get the bikini I want. Now, that’s service- this feeling of wanting to help me makes me want to go nowhere else- especially since no one has my size anyway!
- My local printer- As a photographer, I am constantly printing pictures, getting them framed, and as such, a frequent visitor to the local shop. Now, yesterday I was feeling sick and had absolutely no energy to go anywhere even though I needed to collect a commission from the shop that was due for delivery. So they called me, since they knew its importance to me and when they heard I was unwell, they even asked if they could bring me some groceries and medication. Now, that’s service!
I mean everyone has good products, maybe they have good lean operations (that’s more a cost management internal thing that a customer cannot judge externally) but if the products are comparable, who do you go for?
So if we convert our product focus to service, is it an automatic recipe for success… I truly wonder?
And is this something about the company culture, the training internally or is it just I have been luck to have come across the right people?!!