In a world of “good enough” it is refreshing when you find companies that put excellence and passion into their products and services. Company’s that distinguish themselves around value and quality often find themselves struggling on their way towards success. Many buckle and succumb to the pressures of industry, culture decay, distraction, and other factors. Others stick to their focus on the subtleties and nuances and come out ahead…way ahead.
Apple computer is one of these companies that had early success because of a vision, but lost their focus when they took their eyes off what truly mattered. Thankfully they returned to their values and became one of the most wealthy organizations on the face of the planet, not by chasing sales and profits but by chasing the customer experience. Other organizations we have observed living our a stellar spirit are Zappos.com, Nordstrom, DriversSelect.com, and Sewell.com.
Below you can hear from Steve Jobs about his passion for excellence and his thoughts around the subtlety of better things from The Lost Interview.
The way we’re going to ratchet up our species is to take the best, and to spread it around to everybody so that everybody grows up with better things and starts to understand the subtlety of these better things.
At Crossroads we are fiercely committed to the idea of better things. In the same way Jobs references Microsoft in the video above we face an industry of chat solutions that have no spirit of enlightenment. We find ourselves unique in our culture and true desire to “improve the world through service” (the purpose statement of Crossroads). The way we do this however is not in the hard and visible things (branding, media, tech, or pitch) it’s in the subtlety of the product (specific features and application of our tech, the attitude and culture of our training, and the overall understanding of our purpose in the life-cycle of the customer). The results of a customer-first approach and company culture is distinct and significant.
One of the best results of our purpose, people, and passion are stories. We don’t produce a tangible product like Apple. We produce conversations through all forms of text-based communication: chat, text, social, and email. When done right, customers are helped. When done with excellence we find ourselves in magical situations where the customer reciprocates the spirit of WOW we aim for and we publish these conversations in our Happy Customers & Clients book.
A recent story we published was from a customer on an automotive dealership website. She was looking for a specific truck that could pull a horse trailer. It just so happened (the magic part) that the Crossroads Concierge Team Member assigned to this customer knew a lot about horses…she has one! For an hour they conversed about their mutual love for horses while shopping for the right truck. It was spectacular and a story for the ages.
It’s stories like the one above that make us tick. It’s the ultimate reward for constant hours of training on how to chase a great customer experience instead of just chasing a sales transaction. It also happens to be our strongest selling (and sticking) point. Our clients buy us for our promise and distinct value. They keep us because of our culture impact that shows up in their profit. When they ask how we do it our answer is a bit fuzzy: it’s in the customer experience.
The best part about chasing a great customer experience is that transactions follow! Our clients regularly report to us that we are the #1 or #2 source of sales and gross profits! This has fueled a whole new excitement around how we deliver the customer experience and culture of delivering WOW.
In summary, we have found that Steve Jobs is right. It’s in the subtlety of the better things that makes products and services unique. It’s in the way you recruit, hire, train, develop people to think differently (Apple reference intended). At Crossroads it starts with a purpose of improving the world which is to think about others first; namely the customer. With an “upside down org chart”, hero’s club, culture badges, and tech that personalizes conversations we are changing the culture of the “chat” industry into something larger than a conversation. It works for us and it can work for you too.
If you’re interested in reading more about a customer first culture leads to profits and passion I highly recommend the following books: 1. Delivering Happiness, 2. Tribal Leadership, 3. Drive. Otherwise feel free to book time with me to chat about improving your company culture to drive long-term sustainable growth.