Business guru, Seth Godin, recently posted a blog article titled, “Once in a Lifetime” in which he stated that businesses have a choice:
“Should your product or service be very good, meet spec and be beyond reproach or should it be a remarkable, memorable, over the top, a tell-your-friends event? …. [Y]ou can’t do both at the same time.”
I agree with most of Seth’s blog posts, but I think he missed the mark with this one. Some remarkable businesses can provide very good products and services for those customers who require only that level of service, but these businesses can also provide “remarkable, memorable, over the top” products and services when the customer’s situation calls for that.
A business example that comes to mind is Leon White Movers in Charlottesville, Virginia. My wife and I, my sister-in-law, and my parents have been Leon White’s customers for various moves over a span of 12 years, and we’ve always been very pleased with the service his company has provided. It’s always been what you might expect from a competent, honest mover. We’ve never asked Leon to do anything remarkable or over-the-top. However, Leon has provided those memorable, tell-your-friends services for other customers.
Here’s a comment I received for my blog post describing Leon White Movers, and if it doesn’t describe service that fits the definition of “Seth Godin remarkability” I don’t know what does!
Leon White Movers Charlottesville VA
We know that Leon White receives many “thank yous” but none more heartfelt than ours. Leon, Josh, and James, who helped move us from Connecticut to New Hampshire made this potentially traumatic event (taking place in our tottering eighties) a happy adventure orchestrated by three men who were considerate, compassionate, and fun to be with. They treated our antique possessions as though they were their own. And one of the great things about Leon is that he will travel to any part of the country to move you and will personally drive you in your own car right along with your possessions. Whether you are young and sprightly or concerned about an older family member, you can trust Leon to make it all work (worry-free). We will never forget his professional skill or his kindness to us. Dr. and Mrs. William French (Janna and Bill)
So Seth, the challenge for businesses yearning to be remarkable is to be able to discern the need for remarkable services and then rise to the occasion when those services are appropriate. Is it an either-or choice? I don’t think so. However, most businesses are content with meeting spec and will never distinguish themselves when the opportunity arises.
You don’t need to be over-the-top with all of your customers, but when a customer situation arises that allows you to distinguish yourself, give yourself and your employees the freedom to do it!