Friday, June 29, 2012

Invitation to contribute to Great Customer Service - Manifesto

Dear friends of Great Customer Service!

Daily we are reading horror stories about the state of customer services. Especially these negative experiences attract a large audience.  This has been going on for many years now, but it has catapulted since social media enabled this.

We, professionals who are passionate about great customer service, cannot tolerate this any longer. We want to take a stand for great service and show companies the huge benefits of providing awesome service.

Therefor we first want to co-create a manifesto, which will highlight the need and the approach for great customer service.
Together we will then make sure that this manifesto gets huge public attention. Hopefully we will then collectively work on the transformation of customer service.

We invite you to contribute to this manifesto.

Please send your email details to Jorge Barba ( and/or to Arnold Beekes (
We will use Google Docs to facilitate the co-creation of this GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE manifesto.

Do you want to be actively involved?

All the best,

Jorge and Arnold

PS. To jumpstart the discussion, here are some suggestions:

-       Follow the Golden Rule
-       Keep your promises.
-       Your customer is your life. Make him feel like the center of the universe.
-       Always be present.
-       Do it with Love.
-       Be honest.
-       Listen and learn
-       Always do more than expected
-       Have fun in all what you do
-       Help the customer as fast as possible
-       Being friendly is the cornerstone of your relationship with the customer
-       Your problem is ours until it is no longer yours.
-       Always make sure that you minimize your footprint
-       We want your loyalty, not your money
-       Create and communicate WOW. Constantly.
-       Customer Service is a business philosophy, not only a department

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Personal qualities are key for innovation

Almost all emphasize is placed on which business and professional skills are needed to successfully innovate. Examples are: communication, teamwork, idea generation, project management etc.
These skills are obviously needed, but if ONLY they are there, the impact of the innovation will be very low. Why? Because the real success is dependent on the way people – your bosses/customers/partners/prospects – perceive and experience the innovation. And of course branding can also do a lot, but still the result is to a very large degree determined by your personal qualities. Which energy are you and your employees putting out there in the world. What are the vibrations which you will send out?

Those energies and vibrations reflect who you really ARE and what you really MEAN. Do you really believe in the benefits of using your products and or services? Have you experienced your own offerings?
This means that it is critical to pay attention to these personal qualities as well.
Here are some examples:
  •        Enthusiasm
  •         Openness
  •         Honest
  •         Humble
  •         Collaborative
  •         Congruent
  •         Experienced
  •         Sharing
  •         Practice what you preach

Which persona qualities do you FEEL are critical for innovation?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Innovation and convergence

The saying is: where your attention goes, energy flows and where energy flows, things grow. As an example, my mother did buy recently a Renault Clio and what I am continuously seeing in the traffic now are Renault Clio’s. There were there before, but I just didn’t pay any attention.

Now, my attention is attracted to ‘convergence’ and thus I am continuously see lots of articles about it. What does convergence actually mean? Here is a definition:

convergence |kənˈvərjəns|
the process or state of converging: the convergence of lines in the distance.
• Biology the tendency of unrelated animals and plants to evolve superficially similar characteristics under similar environmental conditions.
• (also convergence zone )a location where airflows or ocean currents meet, characteristically marked by upwelling (of air) or downwelling (of water).

The way I look at it is that it becomes clear to many more people that events (global warming; financial crisis; lack of trust in the government; unethical behavior in companies; mental illness; etc.) are no longer seen as separate, as distinct from each other. These events are connected and they influence each other, they converge.
Previously when there was such an event (or a huge problem), they would assign a specialist or a group of specialists to fix it. This perspective did work rather well in the industrial age, where the assembly line approach was extended to other area’s as well, like problem solving. Split the problem into some small parts, fix these small parts and the whole problem will be fixed. The people who are ‘in power’ are still applying this old age approach to the current information/human age. And then they are surprised that the problems can not be fixed in that style of dissecting.

One way to tackle these problems is:
  •        To see and accept that they are converging.
  •        To assign ‘generalists’ to the problem solving teams.
  •        To understand that we will not return to the way things were before.
  •        To be willing to look in the mirror and change your self!

Now, look at innovation, the continuous drive to improve, to renew and even disrupt yourself and your organization. In itself this proves to be quite challenging for organizations. They know that they have to do it, but they still see it as a side-activity, rather than at the heart of the operation. Added to this challenge is that fact that you can not innovate in isolation (any more), because everything is connected and converging. Therefor the same problem solving rules, as mentioned above, are applicable to innovation.

Are you willing and able to take a complete different holistic perspective and approach to problem solving as well as innovation?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012


A lot of media attention is focused on this huge event, which is both business and entertainment. Clearly football is a billion dollar business. This large business reflects the same behavior as other large companies, i.e.
-       A lack of innovation and
-       A lack of courageous leadership

Lack of innovation
The rules by which football is played are already the same for decades (except some minor changes). However, a change in the rules can make the game much more attractive. Think about abolishing offside. This will improve the customer experience a lot, because there is much more speed and there will be (much) more goals. A much smaller sport like (field) hockey has abolished offside some years ago and the number of goals scored per math increased significantly. Scores like 7-3 or 6-5 are no exception. Also there is much more action and no sleep inducing passing anymore.

In international hockey games there is the use of technology, like the video-referee to check the ‘real’ referee. A team can request this arbitration a couple of times per game. This works really well, as it is impossible to see everything from the right angle. Also the speed is so high that it is very challenging for the human eye to follow. As the financial interests are so huge, why not use technology to help the referee make the right decisions. Football is delaying the implementation already for many years. Also look at the lack of use of artificial grass.

Lack of courageous leadership
The leaders in football (FIFA; UEFA) are really doing everything to defend the status quo, just like most leaders of large companies do. No change in the rules, no use of technology, no limitation in the number of participants per tournament etc. You can not expect any disruptive innovation from these traditional leaders. The same is true for the coaches of the national teams. They keep on playing with the same players as long as possible. A newbie hardly gets any chance to play. They trust the experience of the old ones. And thus they miss out on the dynamics and creativity of the younger players. This frustrates the young ones and hampers their development. This is a leadership disease: sticking too long to the old guard. They will only defend their own turf and will certainly not bring any newness.

So, it is essential to keep your audience (your customers!) interested by product/service innovation as well as management innovation!
How are you doing in these areas?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Customer Service is business-philosophy, not (only) a department

There is in essence not much happening in the field of customer service. Okay, there are almost daily articles and researches published. The content is mostly the same, i.e. customers demand better service and are even willing to pay for that better service. Some companies provide sites and/or apps to facilitate the complaining process and to give more voice to the individual.
There are still only a few companies who have made awesome customer service their basic business-philosophy, like Zappos ( do you know any new examples??).

I think the main reason is that companies see customer service still as only a department, a department that does not generate revenue and only costs money. That is still the prevailing, limited view. If that view remains then the focus on cost-saving will not disappear. And the quality of the provided service will diminish even further.

The only way to – structurally- improve the customer service experience is to make it a part of your culture, your business-philosophy. Then customer service becomes a way of being and doing throughout the entire organization. Customer service then becomes the only sustainable way to really differentiate yourself.

What is your view on customer service?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

Featured in Alltop