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Have you Been Served?

I have recently come across four articles about four different industries that all touch upon the same theme: it is a no-brainer to focus on building a Good Customer Experience when running a business.

Why this is blog-worthy is because while focusing on building Good Customer Experience seems like a no-brainer, far too many companies ignore this principle in their day-to-day operations.

This New Yorker article is about Victoria Gallegos, a woman who works for Prada in retail sales. In 1997, Ms. Gallegos moved two million dollars worth of merchandise, and was Prada's top sales associate. Her secret?

“The goal in this business should not be to sell two to three million a year,” she says. “The goal should be to create great relationships with the clients.”

Since retail appeals to the irrational side of a customer much more than other industries, establishing a level of trust that comes with having a great relationship with a customer is the first step in building a good customer experience.

A writer at Inc magazine writes about an encounter with David Neeleman, who is CEO and founder of JetBlue. The Inc writer met Neeleman when Neeleman was working as a flight attendant on a flight from New York to California. Neeleman asked them for ideas on how to improve the service, and listened to and wrote down their ideas. Along with figuring out what his customers want and how to change JetBlue's service to accomodate those needs, Neeleman also makes a strong statement to his employees: the CEO cares enough to take the time to listen to and help his customers, so you'd better do the same.

The third article is from the Good Experience mailing list that I subscribe to. The Good article talks about everybody's favorite search engine, Google, and how much of its success is due to focusing of creating a good customer experience:

[Here is] David Kirkpatrick, Fortune columnist, who quoted Tim Armstrong, VP of Ad Sales at Google, in a recent interview: "From the beginning we had the approach that the user's success drives the success of the ads, and that could not have been a more foreign concept to the advertising community."

The fourth article is about the Maloof family, who own the Palms Casino in Vegas and the Sacramento Kings. When the Maloofs bought the Kings, the team was one of the worst-run in the NBA. And now?

[The Maloofs] peddled something most fans believe sank beneath the waves in the era of sports franchises owned by faceless conglomerates—customer service. They give out their mobile-phone numbers not only to cute women but to every fan who approaches them. They created a new department to field complaints from season ticket-holders. Oh, and those long waits in beer lines? Gone, thanks to new beer stands throughout the arena. The Kings were ranked No. 1 in overall fan experience by a survey conducted for the NBA by J.D. Power and Associates.

The Maloofs are cut from the same cloth as Mark Cuban, who owns the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, who also focuses on customer service:

No detail is too small when it comes to taking care of customers. We have an understanding with every customer: If you give me your money and passion for the Mavs, everyone in this company will do everything I can think of to make sure you will get more than your money's worth.

The lesson? It doesn't matter what industry a company is in--if serving its customer's needs is ingrained in every employee, starting from the boss on down, the company will have a far better chance of thriving than one that does not.

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Hi, I'm Kareem Mayan. I co-founded eduFire, an online video tutoring company.

I've done time at ESPN and FIM.

I advise WorldBlu, helping them build democratic companies.

I moderated a council for Creative Good.

And, I helped bring Barcamp, a technology un-conference, to LA, which is where I live. I am now living and working in cool cities around the world.

More about me.

Opinions stated here are mine alone.

Contact: blog -at- reemer


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