Don’t Get Fired … Be Outstanding!

Happy 2015 to all! Our first blog of the year is longer than usual, but worth reading and applying. So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

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“Do people fire companies? Yes, they do!”

That was the beginning of an email sent to me by Steve Chamberlin, an executive with Husqvarna. The statement became the theme of our Outstanding! book.

Essentially, we maintain that people fire organizations—but they don’t fire the outstanding ones.

When we wrote the book, we used lots of stories, never knowing that later we’d stumble across one of the clearest examples ever of what happens when organizations are not outstanding.

Our story comes from Michael Miller and his wife, Casey, who run their own business——where being outstanding is imperative for success.

Here is their email to a credit union they left after only a couple weeks. As you read it, ask yourself—and discuss with your team—this critical question:

“Is our organization at risk of being fired by our customers?”

To whom it concerns:

My wife and I, after three years in Wisconsin working part and full time for a credit union, moved back to Denver and immediately stopped by your branch to make an appointment to open accounts. Your branch manager, sitting at a front desk, asked, “How can I help you?” without looking up from her computer. We made an appointment and came back the next day.

Again, the manager asked, “How can I help you?” without looking up from her computer. We told her we had made an appointment the day before and were not surprised she didn’t remember us from 24 hours earlier since she never looked up from her computer.

Oddly, there was no service rep ready for us, so the manager asked Katlin if she was available. Katlin said yes, but didn’t look too excited. It felt like we were interrupting everyone’s busy schedule—even though we had set up an appointment.

Katlin made some small talk with us, but it felt forced. It seemed she was was just doing her job in a minimal way, going through the motions, and not truly appreciating our business.

While we were with Katlin, a colleague interrupted her to ask a question not involving us. It seemed unprofessional to have several minutes of our time used in this manner.

Meanwhile, your branch manager was sitting at the front desk talking on the phone in a loud, irritated voice. She was dealing with a problem with a member’s account and was shouting at someone from another branch or the home office. Due to the intense nature of the call, it should’ve been handled in private, but was heard by everyone. Quite awkward and uncomfortable.

When we were done, not one person thanked us. Nor did the manager ever introduce herself to us, even though we had interacted with her twice!

Lastly, Katlin said she’d follow up in a week to make sure we had successfully logged into our accounts online. We never heard from her.

Then …

I stopped by Wells Fargo to close an old account. The service manager, Lexi, greeted me warmly and began chatting about some business account options for Sun Prairie Films. She then personally walked me over to Breanna, a banker, to introduce me.

I didn’t have an appointment and Breanna was not expecting me, but she gave me her undivided attention with a warm and friendly demeanor. She got to know me in a relaxed and casual way.

I never felt like a nuisance. 

Now, while sitting with Breanna, we were interrupted twice—but for different reasons:

Once by another banker to help answer a question I had, and then by the branch manager to introduce herself and thank me for my business.

After opening my new account, I received two follow-up calls to ensure all was well.

After comparing these two experiences, Casey and I have closed all of our accounts at your credit union and moved our banking to Wells Fargo.

– – – – – – – – – –

Well, there you have it … it’s true:

People do fire organizations, they just don’t fire the outstanding ones.

And, yes, Michael, the only Miller son of seven offspring, mailed the credit union CEO a copy of Outstanding … 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional.

What a good son he is. 🙂

Lastly, if you need a video created to share your story with your customers or know someone getting married, message the team at Sun Prairie Films and—believe you me—they will give you their undivided attention!

Questions for discussion and comment:

What organization(s) have YOU fired and why?

When your organization gets fired, what is the reason?

How does your organization need to improve so it won’t be fired?

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One Response

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Six years ago after re-locating from Texas to Atlanta, I was about to move everything I had with Washington Mutual to another bank. In essence firing them but before I could, JP Morgan/Chase bought Washington Mutual, and I have received outstanding service possible!

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