Monday, July 1, 2013

Start at the beginning...repeat as needed.

A personal note from me:

First, thank you for coming to the website. You have a choice how to spend your time. I appreciate you spending some of it with me. I hope that you find the experience worthwhile, and if not, take the time to let me know how I can better serve you. That is, after all, the point of  the website. To help you get closer to your dreams or however you define success.

Alphabet Success - the book.

The idea for my book, this blog and everything around it began, amazingly, over ten years ago. But one thing or another kept standing in the proverbial path. Now we have clearance. Prepare for takeoff.

Today's Note - with a regrettable thanks to the disappointing performance of so many companies I deal with for providing me with such a surplus of potential examples of what NOT to do.

So, what's the big deal about my little book. Well, there are a myriad of examples I could provide.

Let's just say I think that most businesses make their lives (such as they are) harder than they need to be. This is why my subtitle is "keeping it simple".

When I started Omega Insurance Services in 1996, my vision was to create a nationwide insurance investigative firm that provided consistent results. A great deal of things went into making that happen. Some, but not all, of which are alluded to in the book. But at the center of every business success is the execution of delivering a promise or series of promises.

We arrive at the topic of chapter one - ABC - Always Be Committed.

This is where most businesses come apart. The plumber who shows up late (fail to deliver as to time). The airline that advertises at great expense how much they care, and then has personnel that  treat you like livestock headed to slaughter at the airport. The technology company that sells you their "user-friendly"wireless router that requires you several hours to set up. The events that leave you at the end of the day with that vacant look in your eyes.

Now, you might fairly argue, as an executive of a company this is one of the listed examples, that things do sometimes go wrong. OK, that's fair. Which bring us to the second level of failure. Not making it right when it accidentally went wrong.

This time, I'll begin with a positive example. I order an amazing amount of stuff from Amazon. Not only in the U.S., but also the UK as well as their facility in Germany. As such, it is hardly surprising that things have, on occasion, gone wrong. Late delivery, or something screwed up in the shipment (missing or broken). It is a very low percentage, but it does happen. When it does, Amazon makes fixing it very very simple. Their service is very user friendly. They do have some policies that prevent them from accepting your two year old toaster as a return, but my experience has been nothing but exemplary.

Contrast that with a recent experience with DHL. I was trying to track down an inbound shipment that seemed to have gone missing. I had my tracking number and all the sort of information you learn from experience you better have to get answers. In an effort to ensure I have a paper trail, I nearly always opt for e-mail exchanges with people. So, I asked them about a package that  in their own system was shown (correctly) as being destined for Poland.

Here is their response - directly cut and pasted from the e-mail:

Dear Mr. Fargo,

thank you for your request.

Please be informed that after the shipment has left Germany, the local post of UK (Royal Mail/Parcelforce) is responsible for delivery and data transmission, not DHL Germany. 
For questions regarding the delivery please contact your local post in UK.

Kind regards,

H. Hollstein

DHL Vertriebs GmbH & Co. OHG
Weidestr. 122 d
22083 Hamburg

Telefon 0228 28609898

Wow! Rather than even look into it, this person did not even attempt to find out about my package. Since I wrote to their German facility in English, he/she apparently just assumed it was a shipment to the UK. It merits mention that repeated attempts to sort this out with them were equally fruitless, this just happened to be the most comical response.

For your viewing pleasure:

Fortunately, the shipper was Amazon who credited me for the entire order, including shipping, and will apparently have someone figure it out. I wish them luck.

So what is the moral of today's story?  Do what you promise, and if you screw up, fix it. When we make promises to clients we must keep them. Even if it means being out of pocket and taking a loss. The bad will generated by the actions of many companies are only overcome when they are the only option for a certain item or need. That is an increasingly rare situation.

Always Be Committed. Not when it suits you. Not when it is easy. Make it happen. You promised. Now you must deliver.

All the best,

Tim Fargo

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