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“As our work becomes more about technical execution — we get further and further away from the reason that we’re in business anyway’s — which is to improve lives” — Jeanne Bliss
The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions
Most businesses are born out of the passion of the business owner to solve a problem. Usually, this problem comes out of a personal frustration with the way things are done and sometimes there’s a “whack-on-the-side-of-the-head” moment that asks “What if…?” A company is born and if all goes well, it begins to grow; you hire people, maybe you add a location or two and the next thing you know, overwhelm sets in.
Too often, things get a little unwieldy, and inside of the desire to truly serve customers, businesses get into a sort of cycle of complexity. You develop guidelines and policies and before you know it, the customer ends up on the losing end of the deal.
In her latest book, Would You Do That to Your Mother? The ‘Make Mom Proud’ Standard for How to Treat Your Customers. Jeanne asks us to take a step back from all of the bureaucracy and think about the myriad hoops we’re having our customers go through by posing the simple question — “Would you do that to your mother?” and if the answer is “No!”, then it’s time to take a closer look at those systems and processes that we created to make OUR lives easier, but that instead, made our customer’s lives much more difficult.
Jeanne has spent several years searching for stories and real-life examples from companies of every size to inspire you and excite you about the possibility of not only making your business more customer friendly but making you and your teams and employees feel like you’re doing something that would make mom proud.
Join The #MakeMomProud Movement
Rather than just writing a book and talking about the idea of making mom proud, Bliss has launched an entire movement based on this idea.
Just head over to Make Mom Proud where you’ll get the opportunity to share your own story about your mom and how she’s inspired you in your work. In the gallery, you’ll see dozens of examples from all over the world of business owners and managers just like you.
How to Become a Make Mom Proud Company
As you read through this book, you’ll find yourself aspiring to be a Make Mom Proud type of company (no matter how big or small your business). Bliss offers a few helpful tips:
- Strive to be customer centered, instead of company centered. In your efforts to create an efficient process, it’s likely that you’ve left customers’ experiences in the dust. Start with your customers’ life as a central point of contact. Think back to the start of your business and your mission to improve lives. This simple starting point will influence how you communicate, prioritize and operate.
- Open yourself up to change. Rethink what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. If you haven’t done this in a while, walk your customers’ journey through your business; call to set an appointment, get a quote, resolve an issue. Go over those guidelines and rules you created that were designed to “protect you” from customers and think about how you can create an environment where you are in partnership with your customers.
- Trust your employees. W. Edwards Deming, a post WWII engineer, statistician and quality expert opened our eyes to how employees do the best they can with the systems they’ve been given. Trust your employees and enroll them in developing systems that consider the customer as well as the company.
Who Should Read This Book
While you’ll see plenty of big company examples in this book, don’t think that this is a book written for corporate and big business leaders. The principles in this book are ideal for small businesses — while you are still small, nimble and manageable.
If you’re in a management position or even in marketing, you’ll get wonderful ideas from other businesses that you can easily incorporate into your department. And don’t worry, these won’t be massive changes where you’ll have to request budgets or approvals.
Here’s just one example of a company that did it WRONG!
On page 188, Bliss tells the story of Jeanine and Buddy (her dog). When a pet store opened up in her neighborhood, Jeanine quickly went and signed up for a loyalty card. For years, she purchased Buddy’s food, vitamins, toys and other products from this store. She also used their pet grooming services regularly. On her 105th visit to the store (for her grooming appointment), she arrived 7 minutes late and was told that they had moved on and that she had lost her appointment.
Regardless of what policies and procedures this business had, it wouldn’t have taken much for the employees to recognize Jeanine as a loyal customer given that she was a familiar face. A simple hello might have done the trick or maybe a little latitude or accommodation for a regular customer. None of these actions are expensive and yet they make all the difference.
A Little About Jeanne Bliss
Jeanne Bliss pioneered the role of Chief Customer Officer at Lands’ End. She’s been an advocate for customer experience and improving customer’s lives for more than two decades. She’s worked with Microsoft, Coldwell Banker and Allstate corporation where she has driven achievement of 95% loyalty rates. She’s the founder of CustomerBliss and has consulted with dozens of global companies. She’s also a best selling author of several books;“I Love You More Than My Dog”: Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad and Chief Customer Officer 2.0: How to Build Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine.
Would You Do That to Your Mother is a wonderful book for business owners, marketers, and managers who are ready to stand out in a sea of sameness. Each chapter has stories, case studies, and recommendations for how to turn your business into something your mom would be proud of.