Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude
In some respects, we’ve turned into an entitlement society.
In terms of business – especially the service industry – it seems to have moved from ‘the customer is always right’ to the customer can be as demanding and descriptive as they want’.
In other words, the service industry has become the subserviency industry.
Earlier this week I wrote about what business can learn from Claridge’s hotel.
Believe it or not, I wasn’t talking about their incredible ability to satisfy their clientele’s needs and wants, I was talking about their stubbornness to maintain their standards, values and approach.
You see while their objective is to always give their guests the experience of their life, they believe it should be done to their standards, not necessarily what everyone else thinks it should be.
What this means is they have rules.
Loads of them … from only serving tea when they believe it is at the correct temperature to be consumed to insisting every diner must wear a jacket in their restaurant and countless in-between.
Now I appreciate to some, this sounds counter to ‘customer service’ … but here’s the thing, it’s their stubborness that sets them apart.
This doesn’t mean they want clients to leave unsatisfied.
Nor does this mean they’re closed off to new things or new possibilities.
What this means is that Claridge’s know who they are and what they stand for … not in terms of quoting some mission statement that sounds awfully similar to every other mission statement, but in terms of how they think and behave on an ongoing basis.
Now to some, that might sound like a stupid thing to do because the ramifications of that attitude could be that you alienate potential guests. However there is a counter point of view to this and that’s their willingness to sacrifice those customers who don’t appreciate what they do and how they do it, means it could attract others that do.
In other words they don’t ‘chase’ their audience, they attract.
They create feelings and experiences that not only create a powerful bond with the recipient, but become very hard for others to duplicate.
For me, stubborness and sacrifice are attributes that set great brands apart from all the others … and while many can talk about it, the truth – and value – is in the actions and behavior.
So why am I saying this?
Because I think adland is one of the industries that needs to remember it most.
We bitch and moan about how brands need to behave and then 9 times out of 10, do the absolute opposite.
We talk rather than do.
We chase rather than attract.
We bend rather than staying true.
And yet we have the audacity to talk about differentiation when in many cases, agencies are all the same, just with a different name above the door.
It’s too easy to say the agencies who do the best creative are the agencies who stand out the most, because whilst there is obviously a degree of truth to that, the reason they’re in that position is not just because they’ve been able to attract the best talent and the best clients … but because they’ve stubbornly refused to relinquish the values and standards they believe contributes to creating work of commercial & cultural significance, even if that means sacrificing the opportunity to work with rich clients who might not like what they do or how they do it.
When done in the right way and for the right reasons [not to mention, with the right proof], stubbornness and sacrifice aren’t signs of petulance, but awesomeness.
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