Uncommon Service Blog

Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Service excellence can be hard to define -- it often falls into the "know it when I see it" category of vague, but important distinctions.  Part of the challenge is the subjectivity of a word like excellence. Not all customers value service attributes in the same way. The intimacy you enjoy with a... more ►

Sunday, April 5, 2009
I find myself needing to spend a minute on The Hug. Apparently, in preparing for a royal audience, centuries of protocol can basically be summed up as “whatever you do, don’t touch the Queen.”Forget the curtsey/no curtsey debate. Forget never turning your back on royalty. In terms of national... more ►

Thursday, April 2, 2009
The NYT coverage of Facebook offered another example of a common source of customer tension -- not all of your customers want to hang out with each other:  “People usually spend a lot of time trying to be separate — parents and children are a good example,” says Danah Boyd, a social scientist who... more ►

Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Facebook is throwing Mom and Dad under the bus. As a recent  NYT article chronicled, many of Facebook's older users are in open rebellion against the service's new Twitter-esque functionality that allows customers to broadcast every impulsive thought, feeling and lunch order in a real-time stream... more ►

Tuesday, March 31, 2009
There has been ample debate on whether stimulating the economy with extra spending is a good idea.  While we are certainly far from consensus, there is at least a persuasive argument as to why we need to spend.  Or in the words of Obama "...it's a spending bill... That's the whole point. To provide... more ►

Thursday, March 26, 2009
In a recent WSJ article, an airline analyst was quoted as saying that when everyone else is charging for formerly-free services such as pillows, it didn't make sense that Southwest wasn't.  I couldn't help but think that these analysts might be part of the reason the industry is in such dire... more ►

Monday, March 23, 2009
The Times recently did a great interview with Anne Mulcahy, chairwoman and chief executive of Xerox. Mulcahy started her career in sales, but then took an unconventional path to the corner office through the HR department, eventually running human resources for Xerox worldwide. She led the company... more ►

Friday, March 20, 2009
In an interview for a recent Business Week article, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh described the source of the company's exceptional performance and increasingly legendary customer service: Ask Hsieh to describe his secret sauce, and he'll tell you that much of Zappos' success comes down to the company's... more ►

Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I'm often asked for my feedback on business plans, and there's a strong pattern in the advice I end up giving people. In general, entrepreneurs tend to gravitate towards two kinds of strategic opportunities -- either they're trying to improve on something that someone else is already doing, or they... more ►

Monday, March 16, 2009
Two years ago I would have fled this post and its promise of saccharin-sweet musings. Be spontaneous! Get up when you fall! Own those green beans you’ve smeared on your face! Becoming a parent is a transformational life change that no only really wants to hear about in detail. This is entirely... more ►

Friday, March 13, 2009
"Funny," at it's core, describes some variance between what you expect to happen and what actually happens. A monkey is dressed like a baby. A prehistoric man has trouble buying car insurance. A prepubescent kid headlines a meeting of serious conservative thinkers. On some basic level, these things... more ►

Thursday, March 12, 2009
Starbucks started to dispense free advice on the side of its coffee cups a number of years ago, in a campaign they titled "The Way I See It." Anne's words found their way onto cup #76, and enough people have asked me about it that I’m reprinting it here. I'm biased, but I remain grateful for the... more ►

Tuesday, March 10, 2009
  Every circus needs a clown. But let's start with the state of the big tent. It’s in the country’s best interest for the GOP to recover as a serious alternative to the Left.  Regardless of your ideological leanings, I suspect we can agree that ideas will be better if there’s a political cost to... more ►

Thursday, March 5, 2009
One of the pleasures and privileges of my job is the chance to observe a lot of teachers. This number has spiked recently, and I've been struck by the sheer diversity of teaching styles and mechanics.  I have come to believe that this diversity is not particularly relevant to classroom outcomes,... more ►

Wednesday, March 4, 2009
  Most of us never realize our full potential to lead. This choice is both understandable and costly, and that cost is rising daily, as the complexity of the planet's challenges grows. For the most part, we don't need better leaders, we need more of them. Meanwhile, the "leadership bench" is full... more ►