Skip to main content

Exceeding Customer Expectations

Yesterday I bought some sardines from a local fish market near where I live in Portugal every summer. The lady selling the fish had a display of sardines in front of a box of them. I felt one or two of the sardines in front of the box to test how fresh they were. The stiffer they are, the better. The flavour of fish changes dramatically after a day or so. These were fresh. They were also large and plump (not like the pathetic version we see in the UK). I asked for 2 kilos (enough for 10 people we were entertaining at the villa that evening). Instead of picking the fresh sardines on display, she picked them from the box. I assumed they would be the same. But when I got home and started to prepare them, I discovered that the ones she had sold me were a couple of days older than the ones on display. She had deliberately deceived me, and presumably all her customers until she had emptied her box and then had to sell her display fish.

A couple of years ago I was in a French market. Spying a seller of wild mushrooms who had an impressive variety on his stall, I joined the queue. The mushrooms I was after are known as pied de mouton, or 'sheep's feet'. Delicious fried in butter. These also deteriorate with age. The fresher they are, the firmer. He had a large pile and plenty of people in front of me were buying them. When it got to my turn, instead of randomly scooping up the half kilo I had asked for, he very carefully picked the biggest freshest examples on display for me. It's easy to see which are the freshest from the colour. Older ones go a bit orangey. I paid him and thought what a lucky chap I had been to personally get the best he had. I had 'beaten' the people behind me to those larger fresher mushrooms. I was special.... Until I realised that he does this with every customer. The next customer also got the very best examples on display and so on until he had sold the last one. Every single customer would believe they were special. 

Both sellers sold me what I had asked for. Only one of them will get my custom again. Exceeding customer expectations is the single most important thing a company can do. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Phillips screws - yes I'm angry about them too

Don't get me wrong. They're a brilliant invention to assist automation and prevent screwdrivers from slipping off screw heads - damaging furniture, paintwork and fingers in the process. Interestingly they weren't invented by Mr Phillips at all, but by a John P Thompson who sold Mr P the idea after failing to commercialise it. Mr P, on the otherhand, quickly succeeded where Mr T had failed. Incredible isn't it. You don't just need a good idea, you need a great salesman and, more importantly, perfect timing to make a success out of something new. Actually, it would seem, he did two clever things (apart from buying the rights). He gave the invention to GM to trial. No-brainer #1. After it was adopted by the great GM, instead of trying to become their sole supplier of Phillips screws, he sold licenses to every other screw manufacturer in the world. A little of a lot is worth a great deal more than a lot of a little + vulnerability (watch out Apple!).

My gromble is abou…

Introducing Product Relationship Management - it's what customers want.

Most businesses these days have Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems which store and process vasts amounts of information about us. They use this information to generate communications, amongst other things, which target us to buy their products and services. CRM is all about how a business relates to its customers: Past (keeping them loyal through aftersales and service), Present (helping them buy through bricks and clicks channels) and Future (prospecting).

Most businesses will at some stage have declared themselves 'customer-centric'. They will probably have drawn diagrams on whiteboards that look something like these:



But there's a problem with this whole approach of keeping the customer at the centre of your world and the focal point for everything you do.Is it what the customer wants? Of course companies who ignore their customers eventually go out of business. And those who treat their customers well, tend to thrive. But is it really in the best interests …

The Titus Trust Deceives British Parents to Brainwash their Kids

I have a son who went to a well known preparatory school (7-13) in Surrey. He came home one day clutching a leaflet for fun activity holidays that the school promoted every summer. The Titus Trust operate several camps around the UK where they organise fun outdoor activities for youngsters. Something caught my eye in the leaflet hidden in a paragraph in one of the sections describing the holidays. They used the word Christian. It was the only place in the whole leaflet that the word was used. My suspicions raised, I hunted around the leaflet for more clues and found the imprint which said something like 'A Titus Trust Charity' (the name of the camps was on the title of the leaflet). I dug deeper and found some disturbing evidence of who was behind these 'fun' camps. This is what I wrote at the time to the headmaster:
Dear Headmaster

XXXX came home the other day extremely excited about an outward bound camp next summer that he and his friends had been told about by a rep…