Peak Your Profits: Absolutely! Positively! 14 million times!
According to the International Customer Service Association: “Corporate America recognizes that it costs nearly five times as much to get new customers as it does to keep existing ones. Thus, more resources are being committed to all aspects of customer service; salaries, training, human resources and equipment. Senior management is finding service more integral to their competitive advantage and to their bottom-line profits.”
This constant commitment to service has nothing to do with phony smiles, clever phrases and hanging banners with slogans. It means the ability to compete and compete profitably, now and throughout the 21st century. It requires a passion. A missionary zeal. A relentless pursuit to satisfy your customers.
Few companies possess this collective commitment. However, one company that has made customer service its fierce battle cry is a client of mine, Federal Express.
FedEx is still, a young company. On April 17, 1973, its first night of operation, FedEx shipped only eight packages. Seven were trial runs.
In 1983, it was the first corporation in U.S. corporate history to hit the $1 billion mark in annual revenues within its first decade of operation. Today, FedEx has more than 425,000 worldwide employees and contractors in 220 countries and territories, who make sure when “the most important package is yours” and “it absolutely, positively has to get there” — it does And they do it, over 14 million times a day.
When Federal Express won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, Chairman and CEO Fred Smith didn’t say the Baldrige was testament to his company’s expertise, an apt award for years of dedication or even a prize well deserved. Instead, he said, “I just hope we don’t take this damn thing too seriously!”
What a great quote! In essence, what Smith said is, “Okay, the status is nice, but it sure doesn’t matter to our customers that we won some award, if their packages arrive late or on the wrong day!” Smith knows he and FedEx can’t allow the past to block their vision and customer commitment for the future.
Although FedEx now has a network of companies with annual revenues in excess of $60.3 billion dollars, its quest for service excellence hasn’t peaked. It has just begun. I know firsthand.
As part of my preparation and research for programs I conducted with FedEx senior managers, I observed, read about and heard about this service passion. These folks eat, live and breathe service. Believe me, it ain’t hype. They mean it!
The American Management Associations’ management briefing, “Blueprints for Service Quality, The FedEx Approach” states: “There are no “secrets” at Federal Express. The company’s impressive growth and its distinguished service quality achievements have little to do with “magic” formulas. Their foundation lies in sound managerial theories and practices, the staples of management literature and of the wisdom espoused by quality “gurus” for years, even decades.”
What sets Federal Express apart
- “A constant, clearly stated service quality goal—100 percent customer satisfaction, enunciated frequently and pursued doggedly in innumerable ways, large and small.
- A mathematical measure of absolute service failures as a catalyst to promote continuous quality improvement.
- Employees who feel empowered through open communication, training opportunities, quality improvement tools, and excellent leadership. They thus gain the freedom to take risks and innovate in the pursuit of quality and service for both internal and external customers.
- Finally, and most fundamental, FedEx has a people-first environment that acknowledges employee satisfaction as the primary corporate objective, and nurtures a culture from which customer satisfaction and profits spring.”
Regarding this last point, Fred Smith explains the FedEx corporate philosophy this way, “When people are placed first, they will provide the highest possible service, and profits will follow.” Smith summarizes this philosophy in his theory of PSP or People-Service-Profit. If you take care of your people and serve your customer, then you’ll profit.
Federal Express has always had this unwavering commitment to service, whether it was that first night when they shipped eight packages or yesterday when delivering over 14 million.
More: Peak Your Profits: A little extra
The preceding is an excerpt from the new 5th edition of Jeff’s bestselling book, “Peak Your Profits.” It’s scheduled for a summer, 2018 release and will be available on Amazon and at your favorite bookstore.
Jeff Blackman is a Hall of Fame speaker, author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. His clients call him a "business-growth specialist." If you hire speakers, contact Jeff at 847-998-0688 or firstname.lastname@example.org. And visit jeffblackman.com to learn more about his other business-growth tools and to subscribe to Jeff's free e-letter, The Results Report. Jeff's books include “Stop Whining! Start Selling!” (an Amazon Bestseller) and the soon-to-be released 5th edition, of the bestselling Peak Your Profits. You can also stay connected with Jeff via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter: @BlackmanResults.