A while back, I attended a Franklin Covey class called the Five Choices to Extraordinary Productivity. While focused on getting more focused and efficient, it yielded many additional lessons.
Indeed, there are five Choices, 1) Act on the Important, 2) Go for Extraordinary, 3) Schedule the Big Rocks, 4) Rule Your Technology, and 5) Fuel Your Fire, and it may be hard to understand what each of these means exactly by their title, but suffice it to say that they all revolve around a different aspect of getting your life in order so that you can do more, enjoy more and perhaps get the focus to leave some sort of a meaningful, lasting legacy.
While each of these Choices has good points, one of them, Go for Extraordinary, really made an impression on me, and not strictly related to the efficiency objective of the class. No, it made me think of a business topic, it made me think about the moniker of “world class” that gets thrown around so often, particularly with regard to service and customer experience.
What exactly does world class mean? I get asked that quite a bit. Well, I think the answer is right there in the title, Go for Extraordinary. When I think of world class, I think of something that is not ordinary, something extra-ordinary. Ordinary is common, it’s what we experience on a regular basis, and when it comes to service, that could be anything from poor to average. But extraordinary, that’s something different. Extraordinary is uncommon, it’s not what we experience regularly, it is set apart.
To go for extraordinary means making a deliberate choice to be better and strive for the uncommon. It is a conscious choice to do things that stand out as the best. So when companies say, “we’re world class,” think about it, are they really? Are they uncommon? Are they providing an experience that stands out as excellent? Is your experience as a customer truly effortless, enjoyable and consistently successful? Or is it simply common and like so many other experiences?
So, you may ask, what is the point here? I want to challenge businesses everywhere to examine their customers’ experience, look at things the way their customers see them. Is the experience ordinary, is it common and just like so many others, or is it uncommon and extraordinary? Are you easy to do business with? Is interacting with your people enjoyable? Is the long-term relationship with you and your product consistently one that makes them successful? If you can’t say “Yes” without reservations, even in the corners of your mind, your business my friend, is not world class, nope, not.
So, what do you do? I say make the deliberate choice and go for it. Go for extraordinary, decide to be uncommon. Find everything in your business that makes it hard for customers and find ways to simplify. Weed out every negative employee who can’t seem to find it in themselves to demonstrate a hospitality approach and either train them or send them packing. And ensure that every customer is successful with whatever it is they came to you for, not just today, but for the long haul. If you can get this done, you will be well on the way to being deemed uncommon, extraordinary, and yes, world class.
Not easy, no, not a bit, but well worth the effort and investment. Businesses try all manner of things to stand out, but it typically seems to be all about product. Well, I think customers are tired of product, product, product, they want service excellence, they want a relationship where they are cared for and pampered, they want extraordinary, uncommon…world class.