Raving Fans and Endorphins, oh my!
As you have surmised, I am not a happy camper when it comes to evaluating the service experience. Now I can’t really influence all the service givers of the world that I personally encounter, but maybe I can influence you to take some new approaches back to where you work.
Because I am so deeply involved in providing “service” I go through life constantly evaluating all the service that I receive as a consumer. It is almost a curse really. Because I can’t help but to rate the service I am getting and thinking of ways it could have been better. I am almost consumed by these thoughts. I wish I could get these thoughts out of my head, but I can’t. Part of the problem is the fact that most service stinks! OK, maybe it doesn’t actually smell bad, but most service is VERY mediocre. And the sad thing is that it is really easy to make it better. But why would a service giver want to make their service giving better? The old “What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) question. I’ll answer that question a little later.
I have really been in the “service” business for most of my career. When I was in sales and a sales manager I was always trying to convince potential customers that they should be buying what I was selling. And after they bought from me I was trying to convince them to remain a customer and buy more. So I had to be sure they were satisfied with my product and with me. So I saw early-on that when I provided “good service” I made more sales. When I made more sales I made more money and my boss was happier with me. So I easily saw the value of having satisfied customers.
Even when I left the world of sales and went into the technology world, I was still using sales techniques to make sure my customers were again satisfied. So nothing has changed here. But some years ago I read an interesting book called “Raving Fans” by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles. They introduced a brilliant yet simple concept about customers. They said you don’t just want “satisfied” customers. You want to go beyond satisfied so your customers become raving fans.
So how do you get from satisfied customers to raving fans?? Blanchard and Bowles said to give them what they expect plus 1%. In others words exceed their expectations just slightly. Not enough to overwhelm them, just enough to get their attention. If you continually do this they will evolve from satisfied customers to raving fans.
If you read the ITIL books you will notice that the goals and objectives of many of the processes state we should try to “meet and exceed the agreed (Service Level Agreements) targets of the business.” Seems like it would therefore be logical for us to try to create raving fans. So now that creating raving fans is an unofficial goal for us at the Service Desk (and the rest of IT for that matter) it stills begs the question WIIFM?
Well, I have a theory about that. There is no scientific evidence to back up my theory, and believe me I have tried to find it. I even tried to get a well-known university to conduct a study to prove my theory. But since I am not famous enough (yet!) they declined to respond to my query.
The theory is all about endorphins. Once you have an understanding of the role of endorphins you will have the answer to the WIIFM question. I will leave you with that thought to ruminate upon and will discuss my theory about endorphins in my next blog entry. Oh cool, I love cliffhangers!!!
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