- Beyond Management
Author – Julie Herbert
In our high-technology age of jet-set business people and entrenched, efficient business schools that teach highly streamlined, well-tested ideas about business management, what comes next? An increasing number of business people say that once you have the bricks and mortar knowledge of what makes a business tick, delighting the customer may be the thing that takes your business from being a solid prospect into being something truly special.
And these are not airy-fairy, feel-good ideas from hippies. These are legitimate business people who have seen these ideas make the difference for serious businesses.
Guy Kawasaki and “Enchantment”
Guy Kawasaki defines enchanting customers as “the process of delighting people with a product, service, organization or idea. The outcome of enchantment is voluntary and long-lasting support that is mutually beneficial.”
In his new book Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions, Kawasaki spells out how businesses can do this. The examples Kawasaki uses are essential to understanding what he truly means by enchantment. He does not mean the freshly baked chocolate cookies on the hotel pillow. He means the free wi-fi that’s high speed and reliable and that takes away those fifteen minutes of annoying fiddling and yet more credit card payments from the tired business traveler. He means the electrical strips in your hotel room that are longer than normal to ensure that they have plenty of outlets for electronic devices. By delighting the customer, Kawasaki means making them feel like your company has thought of everything they wanted and needed, and beyond. For the business trying to compete in today’s world full of choices and customized options, this feeling is as essential to the foundation of your start-up company as making sure your company and employees are protected or making sure that your equipment is looked after properly.
Kawasaki outlines the three pillars of enchantment: likability, trust, and product, and for each pillar, he gives a solid example of a company that gets it right. For likability, it’s Virgin America; for product, it’s Apple; for trust, it’s Zappo. You begin to see what Kawasaki is trying to say here. And you may begin to see what companies don’t enchant at all – ones like Ryanair!
Like everything else, making enchantment part of your business can’t happen overnight. But there are always little things that your company can do to make itself more enchanting.
Another example: Purple Cow Ideas Management, Croydon, UK
Purple Cow Ideas Management is a successful startup company in the UK. Its founder, Susanne Dansey, says that sending thank-you cards is one of the things that helped her company stay in the game.
Of course Dansey was already able to provide a solid service to her customers, but the thing that won her a year’s contract when she really needed it was the thank-you card she sent. As Dansey says, “…..it just reinforced to them that our company ‘isn’t just about the sale, it is about the after sale as well.’” This would play into likability and trust in Kawasaki’s three pillars of enchantment.
Although pushing these ideas to entrenched CEO’s who may be used to the old way of doing things can be tricky, it is very possible.
Another example is ‘Personal Touch’, a digitally connected leadership style that enables CEO’s to communicate directly with stakeholders and consumers. Recent research reveals that FTSE 350 companies who use the Personal Touch perform better than those that do not.
Firms whose CEOs utilized Personal Touch had a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 27% from 2009-12, going up to 30% from 2010-12. Firms not using Personal Touch had a CAGR of only 9% between 2009-12 and 13% from 2010-12. And these statistics are from the next best performing group, meaning that there is a huge gap and huge potential for most companies.
Other figures reveal that firms using Personal Touch are statistically more likely to continue growing. More customers use the Internet to contact these companies also.
Only seven per cent of CEOs make an effort to have two-way communication with stakeholders and consumers using digital means, meaning that the vast majority of companies out there miss out on the clear gains of including stakeholders in this way, gaining on likeability and trust.
You begin to see the wisdom of adding Guy Kawasaki’s thinking to your palette of business management ideas.