CCI's Craig Bailey Speaking at AFSMI World Conference
Customer Centricity Founder and President Craig Bailey is speaking today
at the annual AFSMI World Conference, in Orlando. His fast-paced and
dynamic seminar "Becoming Customer Centric" will provide a mix of
strategies and practical techniques that companies can put into effect
immediately to jumpstart their journey to becoming customer-centric.
Participants in this seminar will learn the common misconceptions of
becoming customer-centric, the scope of the customer experience, why it is
important to become customer-centric, a case study of a customer-centric
firm, and a roadmap to follow on the journey to becoming customer-centric.
The time-proven strategies that will be covered have assisted numerous
firms in becoming customer-centric. Find out how your firm can join the
ranks of the truly customer-centric. Visit
http://www.afsmi.org/ to learn more.
A Tale of Two Customers
I've recently had the "opportunity" to do business with two general
contracting firms, events which highlight the two extremes of the customer
experience, and provide key lessons that should be internalized by all
The first example relates to the experience of engaging a general
contracting firm to install a pool. This firm was very responsive in the
beginning stages leading up to "closing of the deal." And, they did break
ground pretty much in line with the expectations that they had set. This
is where things went awry. As you can imagine, when a decision is made to
install a pool, the entire family is anxiously awaiting completion of the
project (is it done yet?) to take their first dip.
After the first day of work, the contractor indicated that he would be
back tomorrow. The following day, with sun shining brightly, there was no
sign of the contractor. Our calls were greeted by an answering machine,
with no response that day. The next day, we waited until mid-morning and
again called the contractor, and again spoke with the answering machine.
Can you feel the anxiety building? On the fourth day, the contractor
finally arrived and did more ground breaking, indicating that he would be
back again the next day. The following day there was a repeat performance:
no contractor. This cycle continued for 2-3 weeks with the gaps between
working days widening as the (New England) summer was passing quickly.
With the family up in arms, we then called another general contractor who
indicated that he could take over the project immediately and get it
completed in a set period of time.
Thankfully, the original contractor did not yet have a cent of our money,
so we had leverage…
The final call placed to the "current" contractor was something to the
effect of: We have engaged another general contracting firm to complete
the work. You have invested time on this project to get this far, but due
to the fact that you are behind schedule and non-communicative, you will
not be paid for a minute of work performed, and I'm turning this work over
to this other contractor unless you get back to me in the next 24 hours.
The contractor did get back to us within the timeframe requested and we
let him complete the project. However, this firm will NOT receive any
positive references. In fact, when people asked about the project, they
heard the realities of the experience and went with other general
contractors to get their own pools installed.
The key lessons here are:
Reasonable customers know that "stuff happens."
(Customer) anxiety grows in a vacuum.
this case, the general contractor was likely juggling multiple projects.
If he would have been more communicative throughout the project and
properly set expectations, he might have received positive references
leading to additional business. I suspect he is out of business…
At the other extreme, I recently engaged
Professional Building Services, of Salem, NH, to perform a home
restoration project. We started with what was anticipated to be a very
isolated set of repairs. Throughout the process, this general contractor
continued reaching out to me in the spirit of "over-communication." As we
opened things up, the project continued to expand, resulting in a much
bigger endeavor than anyone had expected. However, the contractor
continued to manage our expectations and ensured that we took the
pragmatic measures to complete the project. While the project was more
expensive and longer in duration than we expected, the work was absolutely
required to obtain the occupancy permit AND everyone was happy throughout
because of the level of communications and expectations setting.
A few examples of the exceptional customer experience received from
Professional Building Services include:
Nearly daily communications (phone calls, emails, text
messages) to communicate status, obtain clarification, work logistics
and obtaining approvals.
Going the extra mile to work with third-parties
(including building inspectors) to ensure we only did what was
absolutely necessary to restore the home.
Working with us on payment schedules vs. pausing work
as we arranged funding.
Working throughout the night (contractors sleeping in
their truck onsite at the project) to meet deadlines.
The key lessons here are:
Customers don't always know the entire scope of, or
solution to, their problems. So, don't simply "do what you are told."
Instead, assess the situation and recommend the required and pragmatic
solution to their problems.
When a commitment is made to the customer, you need to
do what you said you would do and deliver on that commitment.
You cannot over-communicate to your customer.
The result of delivering an exceptional experience is
positive references (and free publicity!).
all cases, Professional Building Services came through! And, as a direct
result, they have received inquiries from others who would like to hire
them. If you would like to visit them online, go to:
The above examples are simple case studies for which there are parallels
in ALL industries. Which extreme do you want your firm to be at?
contact us if your firm is in need of a Customer Experience
Assessment. We would be happy to perform for you a no frills assessment
that quickly and clearly outlines what your firm is doing well,
opportunities for improvement and a road-map to pragmatically take your
firm to the next level in terms of delivering an exceptional customer
+ AFSMI World Conference
+ A Tale of Two Customers
+ Recommended Reading
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The author of the best-seller
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People does it again. Stephen R.
Covey's previous book helps individuals become extremely effective in both
their personal and professional lives, and is a "must read" in and of
itself. His latest book
The 8th Habit takes the individual to the next level (From
Effectiveness to Greatness) and shares cutting-edge insight that is
foundational to organizational transformation! In a nutshell, the book
clearly shows the way "to find our voice and inspire others to find
On page 2 of his book Dr. Covey gets things started with the following…"I
frequently ask large audiences, 'How many agree that the vast majority of
the workforce in your organization possesses far more talent,
intelligence, capability and creativity than their present jobs require or
even allow?' The overwhelming majority of the people raise their hands,
and this is with groups all over the world. About the same percentage
acknowledge that they are under immense pressure to produce more for less.
People face a new and increasing expectation to produce more for less in a
terribly complex world, yet they are simply not allowed to use a
significant portion of their talents and intelligence."
Is this your organization? Be careful in how quickly you answer this
question…After working with numerous firms, our most common observation
can be stated as: "same stuff different logo." That is, company after
company we work with faces common challenges which can often be traced
back to a single root-cause: lack of alignment to common goals and
objectives. If every leader in industry were to pick up, read and APPLY
the principles in this book, then management consultants would be "out of
The principles covered in this book for personal and organizational
leadership, when lived, unleash human potential and inspire deep
commitment and superior levels of service and satisfaction. This is a
must-read for anyone who desires to be a truly great leader!
In closing, rest assured, we'll always be here for those individuals and
organizations that don't take us up on the recommendation to read and
apply what is covered in
The 8th Habit.
About Customer Centricity, Inc.
We strengthen overall company performance through
better service delivery and management.
We boost efficiencies in front-line customer service and technical support
teams, order processing, fulfillment, field service, logistics and other
key operations functions.
In short, we align the resources of your organization to exceed your
customers' expectations in the most effective and efficient manner
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