delivering on expectations

Delivering on expectations

Shipment delayed-weather. That was the message about why my package was delayed. The only thing was, I could see it was at the local warehouse and there wasn’t an issue with weather in the area. So, there is sat for two days until it was delivered on the day the major snowstorm came through town, shutting the area down.

Companies set expectations about their services. We’ve come to expect deliveries to be seamless (except for the supply chain hiccups during the pandemic). When it doesn’t happen the way we expect, people take notice and they change quickly if problems persist. That’s the thing about expectations. People want the what they signed up for, whether it was written down or just a given.

what are your quality expectations

Quality expectations

Two years ago, I bought a new refrigerator. The old one had been around for 13 years until a design flaw finally caught up. The repairman said he could fix it, but the problem would resurface. I’d be better off buying a new one. Then he suggested not getting one with all the bells and whistles because the more options, the more opportunities to break. So I wasn’t surprised when I started receiving notices for extended warranty plans that are pretty expensive. A signal that after two years, things will start breaking.

The situation presented an interesting question. What are the expectations of people today about how long products will last? And are businesses making products that meet those expectations? How do you make that evaluation in your business?

one size doesn't fit all

Ditch the script and resolve the issue

The trash pickup was missed. Somehow the truck just missed going through the entire subdivision. When I called, the person I spoke with explained I could just leave extra on the side the following week at no extra charge. Then proceeded to ask me if I wanted to pay the bill that wasn’t due for two weeks.

The challenge with a one size fits all script is it leaves customers confused or angry and puts the employee in an awkward situation. And it results in more time spent because all of the steps must be accomplished. Or more time is spent because the issue isn’t being resolved. The best results come when people are hired who can resolve issues and they are empowered to do so.

How are you ditching the script and resolving issues in your business?

creating a raving fan

What impression do you want to leave?

A few weeks ago, I went to buy a few clothes for an upcoming trip. The woman checking me out was a delight! She was friendly, shared how excited she was that her mom was coming to visit and all of the amazing things coming up. We had a great conversation. My last impression leaving the store. And I left delighted with the experience.

It’s amazing how those brief experiences color our views of  who we do business with. How are you designing customer experiences? And what impression do you want to leave?

blending in

Blending in

Fall is here, even though the weather seems to be telling a different story. So I decided to see if my strawberry patch was working to produce fall strawberries. Nestled in the middle of the leaves was a frog, just larger than a thumbnail, sitting on a leaf in the middle of the patch. Given its color and size, it blended in so well that it would have been easy to miss if not looking closely.

There are times blending in makes sense. When trying to avoid danger. Or in a chorus line. Or a band or orchestra. In those cases, pulling focus is a bad thing. But when selling a product or service, standing out makes the difference between getting lost in the background or having a bumper year.

Are you trying to blend in or stand out?

like vs fit

Like vs. Fit

“Which did you like best?” That was the question posed to me at the end of a wine tasting over the weekend. It’s a typical sales question that’s designed to engage in conversation that results in a sale.

But what’s best is not how I think about most things. Rather, I think about what is the best fit for this situation? And that’s how I responded. I like different wines for different occasions. Some just fit better based on preferences of the group, food or the occasion.

The same happens in business. There are people, systems, locations, etc. that are a really good fit under certain conditions and not others. So, it isn’t always about which you like best. The best decisions are focused on which is the best fit.

it just takes one to start a trend

It just takes one to start a trend

Over the course of a few weeks, neighbor after neighbor started power washing then sealing their driveways. Each driveway took days to complete the multi-step process. Clearly each homeowner thought the effort was worth it because one after another the process started anew.

That’s the thing about trends. It just takes one person to start. And when others see or hear about it and think it is a good idea, they follow. The challenge in making sure people see the benefit to them. Once they do, they’ll join in.

when was the last time you experienced that?

When was the last time you experienced that?

Every now and then, tile showers need to be sealed and have grout issues addressed. It’s that time. That meant showering in my guest bath. Instead of the roomy, tiled shower with glass doors, the guest bath is the standard fiberglass tub/shower with a shower curtain that blows into you. Yikes! What a different experience. And one I had forgotten because it had been so long.

Leadership can be the same way. We forget how tedious doing some jobs can be. Or how the experience with customers and co-workers changes along the way. It’s worth periodically going back to that experience to understand what people across the organization experience every day.

Showing up

Showing up

When I first moved to my new house, a newspaper showed up once a week. I was so busy at the time, I never opened it. A decade later, the paper was still showing up and I finally got a chance to open it and read it. What a delight. It highlights life and activities in town, has serious coverage of business and governmental affairs, and a robust dialogue in the letters to the editor section. And it is funded entirely by donations and ads. Every week it shows up and offers value.

There’s something to be said for showing up. People are busy or distracted and it might take a bit to get noticed. But it will happen if you keep showing up.


Strategic Positioning

My dog has an uncanny knack for finding the absolute best spot to see everything. In the backyard, she’s found a spot where she can see the front, the entire backyard, the door to the house as well as the park behind because she is on the high ground. She’s strategically positioned.

Astute people in business do the same. They position the business in a place where they can see customers, competitors and the market. And customers see them. They strategically position.

Are you strategically positioned? When was the last time you checked your view?