1. Thoughts from the Zeitgeist

How Important is It to Please EVERY Customer?

Ask yourself – how many babies is it okay to drop?

{A Note to Readers: This is another in a series of guest blogs focused on Customer Experience from the amazing Katy Wild. Working with Katy, I can always expect to learn something; I trust you will, too. ~ bph}

In 2003, when Freeman launched an initiative to emphasize customer service as the platform for everything we do, we solicited help from customer service consultant, Dr. Chip Bell.  For 90 years, Freeman has had an emphasis on treating our customers well – but 14 years ago, we shifted focus to consider the entire customer experience.  From their first contact to their last, across all companies, including all services, we were committed to making the customers’ experience not just positive, but memorable.

Chip, as all of us called him, had worked with hundreds of Fortune 500 companies on enlightening and expanding customer experience programs.  He spent many hours with Freeman employees, department heads, and executives to learn our business and to share his learnings and proven best practices. We engaged a group of cross-department, branch and company employees to work with Chip. During one of these sessions, a Freeman executive asked our consultant experts, “How important is it to provide this exceptional experience to EVERY customer?  What percentage should we expect NOT to be able to please or satisfy?”

I loved Chip’s response – and have reminded myself of it often. He looked directly at the executive and asked an unexpected question in return.  “What if you worked in the maternity ward in the hospital and were responsible for the care of the patients and the newborn babies?  What percentage of the babies would you think it is okay to drop?”  The entire room was silent and you could have heard a pin drop – then we realized he was kidding – and we all laughed but realized he had made a valid point.  Who wants to be the customer that is “dropped”?  Is it ever okay?

As one of our strategic pillars, we are committed to provide Uncompromising Service to ALL of our employees, our clients and our community. We may not succeed 100% of the time, but that is what we aim for. We plan not to drop any babies and to make every impression lasting and each interaction memorable – for all the right reasons.