Monthly Archives: February 2011

A Great Compliment

A Great Compliment
Anyone close to me knows that at this stage of my business life, I don’t solicit business.  Indeed my much debated retirement label means that I am actually not supposed to be “working” at all.  I have talked often, and written about, my love of the game of business and how I couldn’t know the game was being played without me having a seat at the table.  I find myself at an unexpected place in the business world.  I am serving on three corporate boards.  These are all paid board positions and I must say, I am really enjoying board work.  I learned that being on an effective board can be a very rewarding experience.  I get to be “cause in the matter” without being on the front lines.  Ok the value of an effective board is a topic worthy of it’s own blog so I’ll refocus on the topic at hand.  Aside from the boards, I also do some executive or corporate coaching.
I’ve talked about my client selection criteria in previous blogs.  Suffice to say, I am very selective in who I will work with.  In the past week I have been approached by two company presidents asking if I would help them.  I have known each of these people for years.  What I really appreciate is how they came to approach me.  They have a mutual friend who happens to be a client of mine.  From the things the client had told them of what we were doing with his company they each decide they needed me involved in their companies.  My client wasn’t soliciting business for me or even thinking they could or should use my services.  He was just talking about his experiences.
I haven’t decided yet whether I am going to work with either of these companies but the strength of the accidental referrals has been really gratifying.  I’ve always believed that if you have to ask for referrals you probably don’t deserve them.  I feel these unsolicited referrals are a great compliment and I am truly flattered.  It’s both gratifying and humbling to know I am making that much of a difference in someone’s business life.  Making a difference is why I do what I do.  It is a great compliment.  Thank you Jason.

A Great Customer Service Experience

I had a great customer service experience this past Tuesday.  I seldom see good customer service in these days of fast food, box stores, poor economy, consolidation and companies owned by venture capitalists who believe the god of ebitda will be their sole salvation. When a company and their people all “get it”, that is indeed a rare experience worth sharing.
I walked into an Apple store.  It was midmorning so the store wasn’t crazy busy like it is on the weekends.  There were lots of people browsing but still an abundance of staff available.  I walked to about the middle of the store when a young man noticed me and left the other staff members he was conversing with to come over.  Now in my recent experience this in itself is unusual.  It shouldn’t be, but it is.  We all know that most 20 somethings working in retail would much rather talk to each other than be interrupted by a customer.  This young man was different.  He approached with a big smile, introduced himself as Cameron and asked if he could help me find anything.  When I told him I was looking for a Superdrive he absolutely bubbled with enthusiasm.  “You must have a new MacBook Air” he exclaimed.  “Was it a Christmas present?”  I told him I’d had the first version for a year and love it.  We chatted about the virtues of my computer for a couple minutes and then he took me over to where the Superdrive should have been.  There were none on the shelf so he said he knew there were some in the back and that he’d be right back.  He reappeared quickly with my new Superdrive in hand.  After confirming that there was nothing else he could help me with he asked if he could check me out.  When I said yes he lifted his iPod, which I hadn’t even noticed he was carrying, tapped in a couple things and then asked how I would like to pay.  He took my Visa card and swiped it through a slot on the back of his iPod.  He then asked if I would like a printed receipt or if he could email it me.  Now this I really liked.  An email receipt option instead of adding to the paper collection in my wallet.  Hook me up.  The next surprise was that he already had my email address.  It must have been connected to my credit card from a previous purchase.  Now the fact that my personal information is floating around yet another data base bothers me somewhat but I was enjoying the experience so much the thought of mentioning the negative aspects of this didn’t even cross my mind (hmm, a whole new blog on the power of a positive experience).  One more tap on the iPod and he pealed a sticker from somewhere and with a handshake I was on my way.
Wow; well selected staff, properly trained and then incorporating applied technology.  There are so many great business lessons here.  Old lessons that many companies have lost track of as well as new lessons many haven’t even considered yet.  Perhaps Apple becoming one of the most valuable companies on the planet hasn’t just been luck after all.
Thanks Cameron, thanks Apple.  I’ll be back!