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If I Owned

Harry Paul

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The best-selling author of business parable Fish shares what he would do if he o

wned a jewelry store.

[dropcap cap=I] was walking through one of the upscale shopping malls in Las Vegas re

cently with my son, David, when he commented that there were a lot of jewelry stores and they all looked like they were selling the same things in the same way. We also noticed they were all empty.[/dropcap]

My son said, “Dad, what would you do if you owned a jewelry store? How would you get people into the stores and buying?”

I told him I would set the store apart from the rest not by the quality or price of the jewelry, or even the store appearance, but by the customer experience. How do people feel about doing business with me? Are they grabbed with warmth, and are they made to feel special in a unique way when they cross the threshold?

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The answer must be yes if I’m going to create that experience customers crave.

I would do everything I could to create a memorable experience. The best thing about creating a memorable customer experience is that it cannot be duplicated by the competition — because your people create it. It becomes unique to you.

I told my son that anyone can do this if they want to. And my suggestion is we do it with our employees.

[inset side=right]Managing by focusing on the sales numbers is like playing tennis and staring only at the scoreboard and ignoring the ball.”  — HARRY PAUL[/inset]

I would get them to share their thoughts and ideas on how to create that memorable customer experience. Why? Because each individual is a fountain of creative ideas; so why not tap into them? And, when people are involved in the creation of something special, they have an emotional stake in making sure it’s successful.

What we are doing is creating a culture where people want to come to work and work hard. Work needs to become a destination where people want to be the best they can be. A place where they get to go to work, not have to.

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To create this you need to practice the program “Destination: Work.” Here are the four parts:

[highlight]FOCUS ON YOUR PEOPLE AS WELL AS PERFORMANCE NUMBERS[/highlight] Take care of your people and they will take care of your customers and your sales numbers will take care of themselves. Managing by focusing on the sales numbers is like playing tennis and staring only at the scoreboard and ignoring the ball. If you do this, it’s impossible to hit it. On the other hand, if you focus on hitting the ball, the scoreboard will take care of itself.

[highlight]MANAGE WITH TRUST, NOT FEAR.[/highlight]Trust is all about treating people right. The better people feel they are being treated, the harder they will work. You motivate them by practicing the four Bs:

[highlight]BE REAL[/highlight] Open, honest, approachable, respectful and caring — people will respect you, work hard for you and see to it that you are incredibly successful.

[highlight]BE APPRECIATIVE[/highlight] People love working hard if their efforts are appreciated — you can’t say “thank you” too often.

[highlight]BE INTERESTED: [/highlight]It’s all about listening — gleaning from the collective wisdom of the group.

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[highlight]BE NICE:[/highlight] You have to be nice to people, that’s what makes them like you. They have to like you before they will trust you.

[highlight]TURN WORK INTO FUN[/highlight] Work has to be en

joyable. We spend so much time at work not to enjoy it and have fun. Fun releases energy, passion and enthusiasm. If there is no fun, there’s no memorable customer experience — now you’re being no better than your competition.

[highlight]GET INVOLVED WITH FRONT-LINE EMPLOYEES[/highlight] The more managers interact in a positive way with the people who deliver the service, the better service they deliver. This includes energy, creativity and passion. They do this by making work a place that people look forward to coming every day. As a result, the memorable customer experience takes care of itself. Companies such as Nordstrom, Starbucks, Amazon.com, Wegmans, and Southwest Airlines all do this very well. So, I said to David, “That’s what I would do if I owned a jewelry store.”

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