Life is interesting. I read a lot of different blogs, posts and books. Once in a while something I’ve been mulling over comes to the forefront when I do so. This morning, I was directed to an article on Forbes.com and their quote of the day was as follows:
“Learn from others whom have walked the path before you, but be smart enough to know when to cut your own trail.” – Narciso Rodriguez
Lately, I have been involved in discussions about best practices, quality management and accountability. The timing of this quote is apropos – It’s a reminder that it’s not always about what someone else has done. Sometimes breaking the mold or cutting your own trail is a much better solution to the issue. Sometimes you just have to see what solutions can be created and figure out what works or doesn’t work.
Recently, I was in a discussion with an influential executive and he made a statement that was quite disheartening. “Good enough is good enough.” Although paraphrased, this was not what I wanted to hear. I have a solid opinion that one has to do their best and one has to focus on the customer to be great. There has to be commitment to strive towards excellence.
If your company is succeeding by virtue of passivity and the simple fact that it is too expensive or too difficult for your customer to leave, is that truly success? Is it really a long term, viable solution to a problem? My view on it is certainly not. The customer should be wanting to stay with you through thick and thin. You want to drive customer loyalty vs customer satisfaction or apathy.
There are most certainly times when perfection or ‘the best’ is a problem. Shipping software, for example, is an example of this. If you hold a product delivery until you are perfect, bug free and have zero problems, you’re probably shipping too late — someone would have beaten you too it or you were solving problems that no one really cared about. You can not, however, ship mediocre and expect to be successful.
As a whole, it is always better to strive for greatness and fail than it is to accept being ‘good enough’. Lead the way towards making things better. It is better to try to make the customers ecstatic, the product phenomenal, and the employees extremely positive than it is to simply let things be or to be passive in your behavior. Take a chance, make things awesome. Take the shot, drive success and greatness.
Recently, I was doing research into quality metrics and methods of driving towards a great support center. The company I work for, 3M, is very heavily into ISO standards which tend to apply more towards manufacturing. There is, however, a standard called ISO 10002:2014 that aligns with the more traditional ISO 9001. As per the standard, this “provides guidance on the process of complaints handling related to products within an organization, including planning, design, operation, maintenance, and improvement. The complaints-handling process described is suitable for use as one of the processes of an overall quality management system.”
I reviewed the standard as well as many others, including ITIL CSI, Benchmark Portal’s Call Center standards, HDI guidelines, etc. The fact is, they are all very similar. The key is to have something that:
- Gives your team a standard to follow
- Allows your management to monitor & audit
- Has controls in place for long term success
If you have no less than these three things in place, you have a system that drives towards a system that improves quality and direction; a system that sets you up for long term success. Just be careful about not having too many.