14th April 2015

Customer Service “À la Française”

I absolutely love the word “egregious”. It’s one of those words that I learned at school as a way of remembering Latin vocabulary. One rainy afternoon in an otherwise boring second form Latin class, the teacher explained to an eager bunch of 12-year-olds that the word ‘grex’ means ‘herd’, as in ‘egregious’. We looked blankly at her. “Literally, it’s e-, ‘outside of’ grex ‘the herd’. Egregious is something that stands apart. Something outstanding or exceptional.” The explanation stayed with me but in that last [number withheld!] years I have racked my brains but never found an opportunity to use the word. Until […]
10th June 2013

This business, is coming like a ghost town…

OK, I’m showing my age with that headline (as well as my musical tastes!). And I challenge you (if you’re a Brit and were around in the early 80’s) not to hear the brass chords and the eerie flute tune… Last week I got back from one of my regular trips to Philadelphia. The weather over there was VERY hot and VERY humid, so on one particular morning I dived into a mall to shelter from the heat and enjoy a few minutes in air-conditioned comfort. I decided I’d take advantage of the situation to indulge one of my addictions, and […]
9th February 2012

UBC10: What makes a product into a Five-Star Experience?

About 13 years ago I bought a coffee maker. It was an espresso machine - you know the ones, just like you see in Starbucks, lots of steam coming out, lots of noise (mostly from you banging the old coffee grounds out of the holder). Most importantly for me, though, it was a machine from a "real" coffee maker brand: the people who make the coffee machines in Italian restaurants. Well, my espresso machine has finally been retired, and last week I bought a Nespresso machine. It's made by Magimix, the blender people. Not a name I'd associate with fine coffee. And yet... And yet... And yet... I feel so much better about the Nespresso purchase than when I bought the old machine. And it's not just about the fact it makes excellent coffee (and anyone who spends much time around me knows I *LOVE* my coffee). It's about the whole experience of opening up the box. When I bought my old espresso maker, it was about £140 ($210), and that was 13 years ago, so maybe it would be a £200/$300 coffee machine by today's standards. The Nespresso was £110/$175. It's a cheaper machine. So I had lower expectations...
2nd February 2012

UBC9: are you delivering five-star service?

I've often told clients in my workshops about the way that Ritz Carlton hotels make you feel special by using your name as you check in. I know how it's done, and while it's amazing at the time, once you know the trick that's how you view it. Today however I got very pleasantly surprised.
31st October 2011

Competition is good for you

A lot of my mentoring clients come to me terrified of competition. It's easy to understand why - I was there myself at one point. We've all been hypnotised into thinking like consumer brands. For a consumer brand, competition *is* bad. Here's why. In a typical consumer Market there's limited demand and over supply: in other words too many vendors chasing not enough buyers. So the law of supply and demand pushes prices down. And many coaches put themselves into the same position by not specialising enough. But imagine you were the marketing director of Aston Martin, eager to sell more cars.