It seems like it was just four months ago that I stepped through the doors on the 11th floor of the Harland Building. Wait…as a matter of fact…it was…. So four months ago I was recently accepted to Law School, had just finished up my job with my firm working for P&G and was looking [...]
It seems like it was just four months ago that I stepped through the doors on the 11th floor of the Harland Building. Wait…as a matter of fact…it was…. So four months ago I was recently accepted to Law School, had just finished up my job with my firm working for P&G and was looking forward to my future enslavement in the legal industry. (Nervously laughing at myself) At first I thought, cool…got some time to do nothing for a while. But after a week I got bored and started looking for something constructive.
I came across LÛCRUM, and saw they had a need helping out in Marketing. I figured why not, I was a business major at Xavier, had some marketing classes, and had just worked for a great marketing company in P&G. As a matter of fact I worked in Trademarks. Furthermore, I had worked in the Real Estate, Finance, and Legal industries as well as a behemoth fortune 25 in P&G. Yet I had absolutely no experience in the IT sphere, thus I saw it as a chance to diversify my skills, and perhaps gain a little wisdom.
Now I don’t have, and perhaps never will acquire the IT acumen which is on display at LÛCRUM, but when I started to look for a job in February, the crux of my decision was based on how much I could learn, how much knowledge I could gain. Though I still can’t, and probably never will be able write code, conduct an alignment session on the particulars of collaboration tools and by no means could attempt to spell BI, I have gained an appreciation for the service that we provide. I see the great importance to what we deliver, an in a small way, have reinforced why one of the central themes concerning The Future Value of Business is profit, (LÛCRUM). Oh, and the people here are tolerable as well. ?
Yet, the best thing that I leave with from LÛCRUM is, the appreciation and the understanding of the importance of our endeavor. To me, the meat of what we do here is getting the important information, to the right people, at the right time, so they can make the right decisions. For a person about to embark on law school this seems very pertinent. Being able to decipher the right information, from the wrong information, or even the more right information from the not as right information, is what separates the great lawyers from the not so great lawyers. Obviously I want to be the former instead of the latter. I guess I could call this LI Legal intelligence, instead of BI. However, unfortunately, in the legal field collaboration is a rarity, and at times a liability. Some things you just can’t change I guess. But I digress.
In this day in age, where technology enables copious amounts of information to literally be at your fingertips, it is now more paramount than ever to know what information is worth your attention and what’s not. Furthermore, the truth, I find, must often be found through rigorous and diligent search. Those willing to do the aforementioned are a rarity unfortunately. We accept readymade answers to our questions, and speed and convenience have replaced precision and clarity. Thus, we make our decisions on limited knowledge. A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. This is exactly where LÛCRUM fills the gaps in information technology.
LÛCRUM’s leverage is making information fast and convenient, without losing clarity and precision. This will in turn make judgment more acute. LÛCRUM -clairvoyant, perhaps not, judgment, speed, and vision, absolutely. To me these things cannot be substituted.
And now I bid you farewell. I can only hope that my future in law will be as bright as I believe LÛCRUM’s future can and should be. It has been a fun few months for me, getting to know the people, the company, and being enlightened as I have. Wish me luck down in Miami, and perhaps, some Tuesday in the future, I will return to put my two cents in once again.
So, the other week I went down to Miami Fl, to visit the Law school I will be attending and find a place to live. Since I recently turned 25, I now have the freedom to rent a car, yay! So, upon buying my ticket via Orbitz, I also made arrangements [...]
So, the other week I went down to Miami Fl, to visit the Law school I will be attending and find a place to live. Since I recently turned 25, I now have the freedom to rent a car, yay! So, upon buying my ticket via Orbitz, I also made arrangements to rent a Pontiac G6, styling indeed. In case you have never been down to Miami, the drivers down there have a unique style about them, they’re nutz. Naturally, I purchased insurance for the car; just in case something unfortunate may happen. I got conformation of the tickets, car and insurance policy which I promptly read through. Upon arriving at the rental car station to pick up my car I realized that I didn’t have my insurance policy with me. It had been a few weeks and I was a little rusty on the particulars. The lady behind the counter did her best job of bamboozling me about how the Orbitz insurance packages umbrella and what I paid for doesn’t give me adequate coverage. She made a passionate argument but still my intuition knew better, yet I had no proof. Luckily a person that I was traveling with had the answer in the form of their trusty IPhone. We quickly went to my e-mail and looked at the insurance that I had purchased. Then I had the pleasure of slowly describing to the saleswoman why I wouldn’t be purchasing their insurance. We still got a Garmin though.
Moral of the story, with modern technology and information at your fingertips, don’t EVER try to lie to a customer. You will be held accountable. I know that the person behind the counter was just trying to do her job and get as many mark ups as she could, but lying is never the way to go about it. With the IPhone and Blackberries being ubiquitous, it’s just too risky. Though I had really no complaints about the trip and the logistics providers from a functional standpoint, it was the disingenuous service that really irritated me. When I knew she was lying, she broke my trust and quite frankly, insulted my intelligence. I then understood her MO and her expectation of myself, which was that I was a sucker. We all know my mantra, The Tuesday Model. Well she pretty much zigged when she should have zagged on all concepts. Needless to say that I doubt I’ll use the same rental-provider again. Moreover, as stated in my last post, a satisfied customer will tell a few people, but an upset or offended customer will tell everyone. And thus, my inspiration for today’s blog post of what not to do to a customer, who fortunately for them shall remain nameless… at least in this post.
Business Ethics, it’s more than just a class that I had to take at Xavier, it’s a very important concept that unfortunately seems too often to be relegated to the back when it comes to the bottom line. When there is a substantial profit to be made what’s a little [...]
Business Ethics, it’s more than just a class that I had to take at Xavier, it’s a very important concept that unfortunately seems too often to be relegated to the back when it comes to the bottom line. When there is a substantial profit to be made what’s a little white lie anyway. Companies always follow the market leaders naturally. However, due do business ethics or a lack there of, market leaders are not always the ones to follow. Discerning who to follow though is not easy. This is especially true when you consider time to market in relation to profit, thus compounding the fact that the window of opportunity in any given industry shrinks every day. This is why if there is one profitable yet unethical company then there is ten of them. Pretty soon it becomes the industry norm and all the sudden fundamentals are being left behind, in many cases thrown out all together. You know what we have then friends, a bubble. This happens when people get greedy, and they push the market beyond its means. You know, why sell something to someone for five bucks if they are willing to spend ten. Well if they’re willing to spend ten why not fifteen and so forth and so on. Bubbles, hear about them a lot these days.
Sure, maybe looking at industry bubbles and citing Business Ethics as the culprit is a bit too simplistic, yet it is a variable. Furthermore, we all seek as companies that exponential growth instead of a linear path and that can be attainable without chaos on the horizon. I might also add that just because a company is doing well does not mean they are unethical, merely that it happens. But as customers, do we want a company that promised us the moon, delivered, yet found that the strings attached completed negated the milestone to begin with, or worse. Or as customers, in any service or product we seek, do we want companies with the judgment, foresight and fortitude to see past the bend in the road and successfully navigate the oncoming cliff. 100 times out of 100 we will chose the latter. This is where Business Ethics and Customer Loyalty meet.
Shorting people, i.e. your customer is short sited and will always lead to negative word of mouth. If people like you, they will tell a few people. If they despise you and your business they will tell everybody. Like picking financial securities, customer loyalty comes down to value investing, which is preparing for the long run. Your business will grow as your customers do. At the same time, your business will die as your customers die. Your character is your destiny; and this is one of the few things in business we should never compromise.
Last week, I wrote my Tuesday blog post on charitable events, volunteering and how they impact the community and customer loyalty. In the opening paragraph I mentioned two companies as examples of great customer loyalty, in fact, their customers are not just loyal, they’re evangelists. They seek people out to spread the word [...]
Last week, I wrote my Tuesday blog post on charitable events, volunteering and how they impact the community and customer loyalty. In the opening paragraph I mentioned two companies as examples of great customer loyalty, in fact, their customers are not just loyal, they’re evangelists. They seek people out to spread the word of Apple, Starbucks. Well, I read an interesting article yesterday in the Journal concerning the latter and their recent struggles they have been enduring and I thought, hmm…what great timing to make an example of customer loyalty Andrew. Considering I don’t learn from my mistakes I will venture down that road one more time and make Starbucks again the focal point of my customer loyalty rant.
The article outlines various reasons for the recent downturn of the once skyrocketing company. Obviously, the economy is a variable that must be considered, even with Starbucks ambitious goal of being the third place in our lives, home, work, Starbucks! Perhaps it was unwise to tie its fate to our homes and work given the recent events in employment and the housing market, (like a tripod if you will.) If it were that simple then Starbucks could just retrench and weather the storm, unfortunately for Starbucks this is not the case.
It can cost up to five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an old one. Efficiency along with customer loyalty is paramount as always, and even more so times of economic uncertainty. When belt tightening happens as it is bound to do and is happening right now people reexamine their priorities, this is when loyal customers count extra. So then, what has Starbucks done wrong recently?
Starbucks genius was how they transferred coffee from a commodity to a social experience. It was new, stylish and the product was initially superior. As in every industry imitators sprung up and business followed their model to skim off the top or try to steal market share. At first no big deal, in the early part of the decade they were opening 7 café’s a day. Starbucks was still ahead of the curve, but somewhere along the way the fell off the race track it seems. Mr. Schultz, their charismatic fearless leader stepped down in 2000, but remained Chairman where he dove into side projects like signing musicians to the Starbucks Coffee label, and marketing Hollywood films. They started diversifying too much. They weren’t coming up with new quality products that fit their core competency, but rather mindlessly adding products just to sell. They started adding drink flavors that made no sense, breakfast sandwiches that would overpower the smell of the coffee in a coffee house, and stuffed animals lining the walls of the stores. Furthermore, they weren’t keeping up with new and innovative methods of brewing and pressing coffee, (apparently you can reinvent the wheel). Their customers started to get annoyed to say the least. If you’re gonna buy a $4 dollar coffee, you want it from a place that is serious about the coffee business, not one that has gimmicks and tries to sell you something at every turn. They lost sight of their initial vision, their love of coffee.
Never bite the hand that feeds you. As stated before the customer is king or boss or is always right. They broke a rule in the Tuesday model. Their customer’s expected great coffee at a serious coffee house. When Starbucks started to get into everything under the sun to make a buck they failed their loyal customers. The customer’s understanding of Starbucks started to get foggy. Trust then eroded. The relationship and inevitably the loyalty suffered and now Starbucks is going back to the drawing board to win back their customers trust.
Another week and another Tuesday is upon us, and that means another Tuesday blog. This Tuesday I started off my day at Starbucks, talk about customer loyalty. Planet Starbucks, the cult of Apple, these companies owe a lot of their ascent to this very concept, (and a superior product their customers would say, [...]
Another week and another Tuesday is upon us, and that means another Tuesday blog. This Tuesday I started off my day at Starbucks, talk about customer loyalty. Planet Starbucks, the cult of Apple, these companies owe a lot of their ascent to this very concept, (and a superior product their customers would say, thus proving my point). At any rate, Starbucks seemed like an appropriate place to get the wheels turning concerning customer loyalty.
Truth be told, I rarely ever go to Starbucks, and as a matter of fact don’t have a Mac but I see where their success lies. I digress though. The reason that I was at Starbucks on this beautiful May morning was to meet Jill Morrison from The United Way. She was outlining certain activities and going over the capabilities of the United Way, what they had to offer to the community, and more importantly how LUCRUM could get involved.
Many of us might think that charitable work is not related to customer loyalty at first but I assure you it is. In the modern era of Globalization, the flat world if you will, this “think globally and act locally” mantra is very pertinent concept. Companies cannot and do not operate in a vacuum outside their communities, and if they do, the community will suffer and inevitably the company will too. No, organizations are living entities that operate within a community, the community draws from the company and vice versa, it’ a symbiotic relationship, or at least it should be.
Investing in the community around us indirectly benefits the company. Like the old saying, “the rising tide raises all the ships” well, if our community is doing better, it can only help a business. Moreover, those in the community will take notice and see that the company is not just trying to sell them something. Then they will realize that the company is just as invested in the community future as they are, and thus they will invest back into the company. It all comes back down to the Tuesday Model really. This part gets to the backbone of every relationship, which if you remember is trust. Beyond the good feeling we all get from helping others out, charitable works foster trust. Our customers will understand then that we are invested in their community, because we are meeting their expectations of giving back. Everything is integrated, the Milton Friedman concept that business sole responsibility is to maximize shareholder value is outdated and too simplistic. If we dehumanize ourselves then our customers won’t be able to relate. You can’t be loyal to what you can’t relate to. Investing back in the community feels right because it is right. It makes economic and social sense, and I am glad to see LUCRUM committing to such causes.
Is it better to be loved or to be feared? The ends justify the means. One must be a fox as well as a lion etc. AH The Prince, great book, a lot of interesting concepts, but why am I writing about a book most people were forced to read in college? Well for one, I like it. But the real reason why I am thinking about Niccolo Machiavelli, is because of work.
Recently, I wrote a blog post on a project that I was working on for my supervisior. It was concerning Tuesdays, and customer loyalty. Customer Loyalty, seems pretty important no? If your customers aren’t loyal, it’s probably because of something you did, or perhaps didn’t do. Referrals are one the best forms of marketing or advertisement, you only refer who you enjoyed working with in one capacity or another. Also we tend to work and or buy things from people we like. This is why networking is so vital. That’s all I ever heard about at the Williams College of Business at Xavier- “networking-networking-networking.” Given the aforementioned, I think that customer service, and to be more precise, customer loyalty is paramount. So then, why The Prince as a preamble.
As the first line of my rant goes, is it better to be feared or loved? According to Niccolo Machiavelli, it is best be both, but seeing how this is rarely accomplished, it is better that you are feared than loved. There is no real concise way to put his explanation on why, but he does give his reasons. Again, why am I writing this? I tend to read a lot of philosophy and I find that it inspires me. Not that I think that our customers should be loyal due to fear of retribution. Personally, I say neither answer is right. I say that, better than being feared or loved is being respected. If people fear you, they will due only what is necessary to not be punished, which will render you moderate at best results. Love on the other hand can, at times, skew people’s judgment, which can lead to a lack of necessary constructive criticism. If I was starting a business, the last thing that I would want is a bunch of “yes men” to back me up or take point. R-E-S-P-E-C-T is king, people want to do good for those they admire, they want to work with those they admire, they are loyal to those they admire. This is why Fortune, ranks the “most admired companies.”
Now considering my recent project, in my humble opinion, customer loyalty comes down to respect. Given to and received from customer to business. It’s a two-way street. Respect comes down to relationships, and relationships come down to the Tuesday Model or The Tuesday(superscript C) Model. It’s linear. If the customer is simply a means to an end, then the relationship will end quicker than you think. We must remember that ultimately the customer is our “boss” and not vice versa.
Tuesday, not as bad as Monday, and not as good as Wednesday. Its a forgotten day to most people. If you have an average and dull life, then you could say that your life is a bunch of Tuesdays I guess. Is there any way that Tuesday could mean…a little more…here’s something that I use [...]
Tuesday, not as bad as Monday, and not as good as Wednesday. Its a forgotten day to most people. If you have an average and dull life, then you could say that your life is a bunch of Tuesdays I guess. Is there any way that Tuesday could mean…a little more…here’s something that I use to get me through the Tuesdays of my life.
I have been at LÛCRUM now for about three weeks, and one of the first projects I have been asked to participate in is concerning customer loyalty. So I thought to myself, customer loyalty, how to get it, and obviously how to retain it, when it hit me….Tuesday!
What does Tuesday have to do with customer loyalty, and what is the Tuesday model, you ask? The Tuesday model is a little bit of advice that was given to me by my mentor in College. A successful venture capitalist, and entrepreneur, a man that I respect. Anyways, one day we were out at dinner and I was picking his brain about business, life, etc. when he told me this. “Andrew, all relationships, business or personal, are based on three criteria. Expectations, understanding and trust.” E.U.T or T.U.E the prefix of Tuesday as a way to remember it. “These are the building blocks of relationships” he explained. His logic was that, once expectations are not met, then understanding becomes clouded and thus, trust falls apart. Naturally he concluded “that trust is the backbone or all relationships.” I listened to my mentor and it made sense, moreover, this was a man that I respected and I could see he was great a forging strong ties in every aspect of his life and this was the secret ingredient behind his success.
Since that day I have implemented the Tuesday Model into everything relationship I in my life; family, friends, work and girlfriends. It helps you empathize, which fosters understanding and clarity. I have also amended the model itself. Trust, Understanding and Expectations is how it was originally conceived, but a sub note to expectations is communication. Only if communication is clear can expectations be derived and met. Of course this screws up the acronym but it’s worth it.
So now that I have acquainted you with my philosophy (something that I will do a lot if you let me), it is time to implement the Tuesday Model with my tasks here at LÛCRUM. Going along with the theme of Tuesday, you can find further “rants” if you so desire every Tuesday from here on out. If you agree with me great, if you have anything to add, I’m all ears, or perhaps you think I’m insane, either way, discourse is always welcome.