Writing a ‘relentless’ service culture plan

One of the major weaknesses of most organizations is top management’s lack of a service strategy.

They fail to realize the strategic opportunity on how to use superior service as a vehicle to build market share and market dominance. That is why I wrote the book, “Relentless.”

Sam Walton, one of the most powerful retailers in the world, built Walmart on customer service and price. They are now known for price only. The value of the company as a service leader has dropped as it has lost focus on customer service when Lee Scott took over as CEO in January 2000.

When Scott left in January 2009 the stock value was less than when he started as CEO. I always had trouble understanding why management for Walmart has simply focused on price alone for the past 13 years.

The $1,000 I invested in Walmart and eight other service leaders in May 2003 is only worth $3,499 as of October 2022. The investment at Amazon is worth $73,478, Costco $19,648 and Home Depot $14,858. All three provide relentless customer service.

Very few executives understand the financial impact when you provide relentless customer service year after year. COVID-19 gave most firms in the world an opportunity to abandon customer service. A fatal mistake.

Along came Amazon. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and executive chair, is one of the world’s richest person as of October with a net worth of $138.6 billon. He built his company to become the most trusted and well-liked brand. No one can challenge it. Wal-Mart is so far behind.

Bezos is responsible for creating more than 352,000 full-time jobs since 2020 for the American economy and is on schedule to create more.

Use these guidelines in making decisions about the features of your service culture plan:

  • Under-promise and over-deliver. Don’t make a promise you can’t keep.
  • Only the customer knows what he or she wants.
  • Make it easy to do business with your company.
  • Customers want speed of service.
  • Customers want to talk to a live person.
  • Return phone calls immediately.
  • Always deliver on your promises.
  • Communicate. Be like Amazon and have a focus on customer service through regular communication.

Continue to drive the plan strategically. According to Bezos, “Focus on the things that don’t change.” Bezos built Amazon around things he knew would be stable over time.

In my book, I state that if you want to grow and succeed long-term. You got to be a service leader. To do that, you’ve got to be relentless.

Also essential is a chief executive who is just as committed to customer satisfaction as he is to stockholder satisfaction — just look at Amazon, Costco and Home Depot.