Providing great service requires trade-offs. And acceptance of the tradeoffs.

Some great insights from the book, Uncommon Service

Companies that excel at service typically do a great job in four areas: identifying the attributes of service they’re competing on; determining how to fund excellence in these areas; designing management systems that help employees to succeed at their jobs; and training their customers.

Excellence requires sacrifice. To deliver great service on the dimensions that your customers value most, you must underperform on dimensions they value less. This means you must have the stomach to do some things badly.

The concept can seem immoral at first blush. We recently did some work with a major health-care provider. The CEO wasn’t able to join us until the last couple of days. When he arrived, we reviewed what we’d covered, including the link between underperformance and excellence. The CEO immediately pushed back, saying, “I don’t see anything we could afford to be bad at.” He continued, revealing that he saw the idea of lowering the bar on any dimension as dishonorable, particularly in a field like health care. Hands immediately shot up around the room. His team disagreed, and after listening to their ideas for where trade-offs could be made-where resources could be shifted from areas low on the customers’ priority list to areas customers cared more about-the CEO finally backed down. “I get it,” he said. “That’s how we can afford to be great.”

via hbr

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