Tag Archives: customer service

Business, Life, and Alice Cooper?

Having a career that spans 40+ years is an impressive achievement, regardless of industry.  It is certainly not the norm in today’s business world.  The ability to have such a career in a field where success is quantifiable, where lack of sustained performance has seen all too many “flash in the pan” careers, 40 years and counting is amazing really.  In entertainment, and especially rock and roll, it is certainly a rarity.  Then, being selected to your industries Hall of Fame – just sort of legitimizes the career.

Alice Cooper, the glam/theatrical rock star provides some pogniant thoughts regarding business, the secrets to success and simply fundamental lessons in life.  And to think, he was quoted in an interview on Fox – strange days indeed.  Hard to believe, but then again one has to assume a guy like him has quite literally seen it all.

“…if you are living in this day and age there are way too many things to stop your career and not enough things to keep it going,”

“In this business there is two or three things you have to do. You have to be totally professional, always be there half an hour early not half an hour late. Be ready to work and do what you are supposed to do,”

“If you’re doing a movie, know your lines, if you’re doing an album then don’t show up and not know what you’re doing because that’s the stereotypical thing people think rock stars are…it’s not really true. We get in the studio and know exactly what we’re doing.”

“It was just something that was built into us, if you wanted to stick around you really had to be professional. Our band really believed in that. We were over-rehearsed, we never dared come in late,” he said. “What that says to me is that my time is more important that yours, and that is insulting. You don’t need enemies in this business, you need friends.”

The Wisdom of Alice Cooper – timeless truths and lessons – life and business – show up early, be ready, respect others, and just simply do what you are supposed to do.  Nothing magical, nothing sophisticated…the basics.  Though his wisdom has been gleaned in the crucible of life, the credibility of Alice Cooper is only enhanced by that priceless moment from Wayne’s World:

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A Seasonal Reminder

Tis the season…for the annual foray into the retail shopping world. I am not a shopper, but I do consider it part of my ongoing professional growth to experience the reality of shopping in the crucible of the holiday season.  It is not relaxing, enjoyable, or fun.  Just as most people do not understand how I can find running or cycling for hours fun, I cannot  fathom how shopping is remotely enjoyable.

All of the above said, I came away from this year’s field study pleasantly surprised.  Surprised at the service, the customer focus, and the savvy of the sales people.  I was upsold, I was accessorized, I was given very personalized attention, and in short made to feel special, important and above all valued.  It almost made the day enjoyable.  Certainly it was tolerable.  Costly, but tolerable.

Let’s be honest – you go into a Nordstrom, you are going to pay a premium price. It is just part of deal. And here is the lesson – it is a part of the deal we seek out. We are not sensitive to price because of the service. Service trumps price.  It is a great reminder and fundamental lesson in business.  Meet and exceed your clients expectations, make them feel special, and do it all with a smile on your face, and the customer will gladly pay a premium price.  And next year, I will be back in Nordstrom, list in hand, looking forward to the chance to again be upsold while paying a premium price.  My wife could not be happier.

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Filed under Current affairs

The Return of Service?

If there is one thing I do not do, it is shop. Browsing, perusing, or otherwise embracing the retail experience is just not me. Never has been, and I am quite confident saying it never will be. However, the realities of life dictate that on rare occasions we all need to wade into the pool of American consumerism – we all need the basics. And much to my chagrin, my recent foray was an enlightening and almost enjoyable experience. Service is clearly back in vogue.

Just a small sampling from a few stops over the past weekend at Home Depot, Best Buy, Target and the like.  Clearly not a definitive study, but enough of an experience to reinforce that invaluable lesson in business and life:  Service Matters.  For the first time in years the retail experience was highlighted by such things as real customer service, actual warmth and assistance from the staff on the floor, and a very palatable and demonstrated desire by the associates to quite simply “go above and beyond” to make the shopping experience positive.  I was stunned.  Grateful, but also stunned.

While I sincerely appreciated the warmth of the staff and their clear focus on me and my needs, I found myself wondering where had this been, and where was it coming from now.  Then it struck me – they need the customers.  They value our business, or rather they now really need our business.  Obviously they always need customers, but now they realize it and have taken steps to improve the overall shopping experience.

The lesson in this is simply the basic question – are you valuing your relationships with your clients, with your customers, with your family, with your friends?  Have you told them so, have you shown them?  Are you going out-of-the-way to “go above and beyond”, to exceed their expectations, to put their needs ahead of your own?  Now for the tough question – did you do it when times were good, when business was easy?  While we all know service matters, it is critical to remember that service always matters – in good times and in times of challenge.

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