If you are an entrepreneur, or working in a company that needs to rethink or redesign processes or products in order to move forward, there are many places to look for inspiration. In this post, I will name just a few things to look at/read/think about to get all the ideas you need.
- Visit a Pret-a-Manger Store. If possible, look up a local Pret and take a trip there during lunch time. Take in the customer friendly servers, notice how fast the lines are always moving, read the displays underneath every item of food, and check out the unique seating area. Pret has developed a fun, healthy, and unique brand of fast food. They have a story to tell, and they tell it in a way the keeps customers coming back time and again. They make it easy to be healthy, and they make the food buying/eating process fun.
- Take a look at JetBlue’s Twitter Page. Go to www.twitter.com/jetblue and read through a couple of the responses and conversations there. They have fast become one of the better companies to use Twitter, and they do it through updates and customer service. It is designed for anyone to ask their reps a question and receive a quick answer on flight times, delays, security information, and other miscellaneous facts you may need before a flight. They are one of the few companies getting this right.
- Read an article on Zappos Corporate Culture. Zappos is fast becoming a prime example of how to run a company. From the way employees are treated, to the initial hiring and training process, to the customer service, Zappos has built a company that people know is fun and generous. Their employees are taught up front that customers come first, and everyone is in the customer service business, from top to bottom. Their shoes are not the cheapest, but they have built such strong brand loyalty among existing customers, that the model works.
- Go into any TD Bank. TD Bank, after their purchase of Commerce, became “America’s Most Convenient Bank”, borrowing the motto from the bank they acquired. And if you have ever dealt with one of the branches in any way, you know this is true. If you belong to the bank, visit with a customer service complaint or question. If not, visit because you are “thinking about opening a new account”. And even if you don’t have time to visit, call up. Recognize how quickly you are greeted and served, and take in the truly personal interactions that you experience. Things are made easy, and everything you need to get done is done fast, and with a smile. They make a name for themselves through service, and live up to it every time.
- Attend a MacWorld Conference. Apple has done an incredible job creating a following of cult-like loyal customers. People hang on every word of every announcement they make, and people will buy into products long before they are even made available. Visit one of these conferences, and even though Apple is no longer officially the focus, you will experience this first hand, and get a chance to hear about and try some of the newest innovations in technology. It can be a very eye opening experience.
Those are a just a few highlights of what some companies have to offer. Notice how each one is about a couple of main things: customer service, brand awareness, and loyalty. These companies have developed their brand through attention to detail and interactions with customers that are above and beyond our expectations. There is a lot to be learned by experiencing the things that superior companies offer. What can you do to match this type of success?