The most stationary of all stationery items, scissors hate to be hurried. I learned this as a child. You did too, probably. Don't run with scissors. A clear and simple instruction. Pencils, glue, staples... no problem. For them, like us, it's a finite existence. Time is short so don't dilly dally. But don't run with scissors.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

power to the people

I’m on a bit of a mission at WStore to produce some new customer evidence material. You know, case studies and the like.

So, I’ve been asking some of the sales guys for suggestions of customers to call, and I’ve been doing some interviews. Thankfully they’re going pretty well. It’s not as dumb as it might sound to say that so far everyone’s been very positive. You’d think that no one would put a customer forward to be a case study/reference if they weren’t happy – completely happy. But you’d be wrong.

A few years ago I had the good fortune to write a lot of case studies for a large and well-known software company (yes, THAT software company – I know, I know... not bad, eh..?). Anyway, a sizeable minority of the customers I called (and they were recommended to me as good case study candidates) refused to have anything to do with the process, frequently coming out with statements like: given the experiences I’ve had recently I don’t think you’d want me to put my thoughts on the record.

Fair enough.

Back to WStore, and in particular the conversation I had this morning with a very frank and very happy customer contact. Clearly, this isn’t the time or place for me to say who – but you’ve probably heard of them.

One comment he made really stuck out. “Systems can always go wrong, and they often do. It’s how the people within an organisation sort out those situations that give you the measure of a place.”

Of course, he’s dead right. It’s not new or particularly ground-breaking but it’s worth remembering plus it was a positive message that resurrected my morning – I’d spent the thick end of an hour sitting in a traffic jam on the A322 on the way into work. Still, as frustrating as the hold-up was, at least I wasn’t the poor soul the ambulance was attending to.

Again, back to this morning’s call. The chap I interviewed said a lot of very positive things about the service he’d experienced from WStore – answering queries, pre-empting problems, dealing with returns, whatever... he made it clear that the reason WStore is now his preferred supplier is because of the people he deals with.

As good as this is when you’re on the receiving end of all this positive feedback, I think there’s actually more to be learned from it if you’re at the other end of the service spectrum. If you piss people off, if you annoy them, if you fail to deliver on your promises, you will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

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