I care deeply about service, but how do you deal with failure? If, despite best efforts, a customer does not feel you met their needs or requirements, then what?
Maybe the customer is being reasonable, maybe they are not. It does not matter. What matters is the effort, the principal and purpose behind the effort, and whether your actions match your rhetoric.
From my perspective, the litmus test is the drive home. Do I feel sick that we missed our goal of customer delight? Am I unable to find something we should have done but did not? Am I still willing to look the customer in the eye and tell them we have done everything that is consistent with our passionate commitment to the service agenda?
The questions are simple to write – even simplistic and self righteous. The answers are messy and there are no absolutes. I can’t prove that service excellence drives me and my stewardship of this company. However, I am undeterred. I believe service is our obligation. We earn our money only if we respect this truth.