Here is a brief excerpt from American Entrepreneur: The Fascinating Stories of the People Who Defined Business in the United States in which Larry Schweikart and Lynne Pierson Doti focus on Gustavus Swift who was alarmed by fat content in Chicago’s Bubbly Creek into which the remains of animal carcasses were discarded after processing within his slaughterhouse.
“Swift was convinced that any fat in the water meant that too much of the animal carcass was discarded. Thus, for economic, and not environmental, motivations, Swift cleaned up the water by finding ways to use virtually all parts of beef and pig carcasses. He developed a series of by-products that included glue, soap, fertilizers, beef extract, and bone products, joining the many uses for other [parts of the animals – leather shows, gloves, baseball covers, even red paint made from animal blood – already in place.
“A century later, the process that Swift started reached almost 100 percent efficiency, but even during his time Swift accurately could boast that ‘we use all of the hog but the grunt.’”
Hassle: “a spot of bother”
We really don’t want any hassles. Any. Ever. Not from customer service reps in stores, not from our bosses, not from our colleagues. Life is too busy, pressures are too many, we have too much to worry about (we also want no worries, but that’s another discussion…), so we don’t want any hassles at all. Ever.
This is one of the key findings of Frank Luntz in his book, What Americans REALLY WANT…REALLY: The Truth about our Hopes, Dreams, and Fears. Yes, we already knew this. But Luntz found out that we really, really don’t want any hassles.
And we especially don’t want any hassles in any customer service interactions. In addition, we don’t like automated phone systems, and foreign accents on the other end of the phone. But this is because we don’t want any hassles, and automated phone systems and long hold times and foreign accents can put us over our hassle quotient…
In customer service, this is what we really want:
1) Someone who knows what he/she is doing
2) Someone who will actually listen and genuinely pay attention – to me.
3) Someone who cares about me and my problem.
(Those are my rewordings of his findings. Here is how Luntz put it:
Three attributes Americans really want from customer-service personnel:
1) to be knowledgeable, well-trained, reliable
2) someone who listens as they explain their problem.
3) In a word: empathy.)
So – here is your agenda. In your interactions with your customers, in your interactions with colleagues, in your interactions with family members and friends and fellow church members, and… find any hassles and every hassle in your system. Anywhere and everywhere. Now – get rid of them. And be on the lookout for new hassles. Then, get rid of them. Aim for hassle free.
Because people really don’t like hassles.
(and, yes, this needs to be my agenda too).