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SECRET #3: Add “Charisma” to the Service Mix

Bell, Chip Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

word being “to capture”). It is service that “sparkles.” It is loaded with a kind of infectious energy—an energy that invites reciprocal energy from the customer. It is the Francie Johnsen approach to magnetic service.

Francie Johnsen is an Eckerd’s pharmacist in Dallas who customers label “the fastest pharmacist in the West.” Watching Francie in action is like watching ducks swimming on a pond—under the water you see frenzied feet; on top you only see grace. To customers, Francie never appears rushed despite the breakneck speed of her hands as she sets the pharmacology record for minimum time taken to fill prescriptions.

Francie manages customers’ wait in a way that leaves them infatuated. “Chip,” she said one day, “go and check to see if your pictures are ready while I fill your script.” “But, Francie,” Chip protested, “I don’t have pictures being developed.” Unchanged by his refusal to take the bait, she elevated the tease to a higher altitude. “Well, go look at someone else’s pictures . . . or better yet, go check your blood pressure on that machine over there. I’ll have your order ready by the time you get back.”

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SECRET #5: Give Customers an Occasional Miracle

Bell, Chip Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

you about your stay here at Children’s Memorial Hospital of Boston?”

The child smiled and proudly responded, “I did not know my doctor would be Chinese.”

The Meaning of Miracle Power

Delight your customer! Exceed your customers’ expectations! Provide value-added service! These have been the mantras of customer-service gurus for a long time. Such focus on “adding more” has raised the quality of service in many organizations. It has also raised customers’ standards for what qualifies as “good service.”

But what’s an organization to do when the budget-cutting ax is loosed and tight profit margins get even tighter? How do leaders avoid sending a very mixed message by telling the front line to wow their customers in the morning and announcing staff cutbacks and expense reductions in the afternoon? How can you add value when there are no more resources to fund extra added attractions? In a phrase: Offer the occasional miracle!

Producing the occasional miracle is different from exceeding customer expectations. Ask customers what actions would be value added in a given situation and they will focus on those that take the expected experience to a higher level—meaning those that make them walk away feeling “they gave me more than I anticipated.” Value added is the upgrade, the extra helping, the complimentary dessert. It is a linear extension of good service.

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CHAPTER 8 Trust Thrives When Leaders Lead Naturally

Bell, Chip Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

1. You want very much for your immediate family members to be open and honest in their dealings with you. You are eager to have relationships that lack suspicion or mistrust. Would you:

A. Periodically sit down as a family and talk through thorny issues and conflicts, openly resolving all you can on the spot, or:

B. Hire a colleague to prepare an anonymous, written attitude survey he would administer to your family members and then come to dinner one evening to present the results, still protecting each family member’s anonymity.

2. Using a participative style, you frequently have encouraged your immediate family members to help you identify ways to make home management more efficient and effective. Without warning, your spouse is unemployed and you must make major cuts in your family budget. Do you:

A. Ask family members to help you solve the challenges of the economic crunch just like you have sought their input in better times, or

B. Encourage your oldest child to join the army early and send two of the kids off to live with a distant cousin several states away.

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SECRET #2: Focus on Customer Hopes, Not Just Needs

Bell, Chip Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

house calls. Oh, you can take your sick computer by and leave it for repair. You can even sit in their reception area and wait while they put it in their “emergency room” fast track. They will even try to help you avoid their services altogether by first attempting to troubleshoot your problem with you by phone. But what will really make you a devoted fan is PC House Call’s seeming ability to read your mind!

The last time a friend of ours was in their ER reception area, owner

Linda Beneventi chatted with him in between the phone calls she was fielding with her remote headset that gave her complete mobility around the shop. Quickly zipping past “How’s the weather” questions, she moved on to questions that might have come from some think tank inquiry.

“Would you like to be able to interact with your laptop remotely

. . . like when it’s in the hotel room and you’re at a meeting, would you like to be able to call it on the phone?” “How does your computer make you angry?” “Do you ever use your modem with the air phone when you’re flying?” “How often do you clean your computer keys with that expensive can of air?”

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CHAPTER 14 Character Is Revealed If Leaders Have Soul

Bell, Chip Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

The Swamp Fox’s hotly pursued Marion’s Brigade frequently embarrassed the British Redcoats by using bold tactics that completely altered the way battles were traditionally fought. The British soldiers proceeded with orderly precision and methodical planning; Marion pitched battles from trees and bushes. The British wore bright red uniforms; Marion’s Brigade donned camouflage.

The Swamp Fox’s hit-and-run methods typically caught the British army completely off guard. Creatively engineered guerrilla tactics enabled Marion’s small, under-resourced unit to take on a well-supplied enemy who had many times more troops. In one decisive victory, Marion was outnumbered twenty to one, and his soldiers had only three bullets each and no artillery. It was guerrilla warfare at its finest. Magnetic service is like guerrilla warfare—unconventional, maverick, and out of the ordinary. It requires a leader like Francis Marion, with courage enough to take the road less traveled

Francis Marion Was Courageous

Magnetic service leaders are, like Francis Marion, courageous. Not the show-off, fearless kind of courageous, but rather the “I only regret I have but one life to lose for my country” kind. Their courage wells up from a devotion to duty rather than from desperation. Such courage is seen in leadership that has its source in a deep commitment to customers as well as an insatiable desire to serve.

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