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​Value-add (Part Deux and a Half)

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A quick thought on value-add after experiences this week. Twice I noticed employees of establishments working incredibly hard. Yet, they were providing very poor customer service. It wasn’t their fault. The company had apparently made the decision to cut costs by cutting the number of employees working the front lines — working with the customer. At a hotel, I watched the reception desk clerk answer two phones while trying to get my co-worker and me checked in, while trying to look up a loyalty card number, while four more people stood in line behind us. Two days later, the guy behind the counter at a fast food joint was taking my order at the same time he was taking the order for drive-through. It did not go smoothly. One other person was flipping the burgers — well, taking them off the assembly line. It was 10 minutes later before someone else showed up to take more orders. (Yes, fast food and I was there for 10 minutes.)

You want to provide value? Walk into any part of your company that works with the customer, look at where the cuts are, and explain to management that scrimping on costs at the expense of the customer will result in greater losses. No one will want to hear the message. They will explain it is a tough economy and the cuts are necessary. They will say you don’t understand business. But you have to explain that, apparently, you understand business better than they do. And maybe you have to go in and show that customer service is suffering. But, if you can convince your company it wants to be the first one regaining customer service as a priority, it will also be the first to regain dominance in the economic recovery.

Who would have thought providing value might take bravery?

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