The enemy of great service, is good service
“Good is the enemy of great”
Voltaire (1694 – 1778).
The concept of good being the enemy of great had been around for many years prior to its re-emergence in Jim Collin’s business management classic Good to Great.
First let’s be clear, from both a personal and business perspective, there is not a lot wrong with being good at what you do, after all it’s streets ahead of being bad. However, good becomes a serious impediment if you are striving for greatness in your endeavours.
The reason there are very few great cars is because there are a large number of good cars. The reason there are only a few great restaurants is because there are many good restaurants to choose from. And the reason there are just a handful of great businesses is because there are a plethora of good businesses. The same applies to retailers, schools, sports teams, law firms, plumbers, construction companies, etc., etc. Lots of good ones … but very few great ones.
The underpinning problem with good is that it creates a false sense of security, a feeling that all is fine, that everything is proceeding as well as can be expected. Few, if any, customers complain about our product and/or service offerings. There’s enough money to pay the bills, and everyone seems reasonably OK.
Whilst we know in our hearts that we are far from reaching our potential, we are comfortably holding our heads above water.
But there’s the rub, it’s that feeling of relative comfort that has lulled us into believing that we no longer need to try. Achieving good has deadened our creativity; it has quelled our passion, and has sapped our enthusiasm. Worse still, it has replaced our courage with fear.
Let’s play it safe, just in case … said no one ever striving to be the best.
Autopilot is fantastic for airplanes, and cruise-control is brilliant for cars; neither however were designed for business.
Great work, extraordinary service, groundbreaking innovation, clever inventiveness, are all in short supply. As such, there has never been a time when they were needed more.
Your business, Australia, the planet, all need your greatness now, because it’s greatness that changes things and makes a discernable difference. Achieving good simply keeps the fires smouldering, perpetuates mediocrity, camouflages real security, and keeps everyone playing it safe.
And so it is with customer service. Right now, you think your service levels are pretty good, at least as good as your competition, and again, no one is complaining so it must be OK. But no matter how good your service is, you know that it can be better, in fact a heck of a lot better. You also know what that improvement would deliver, not only for your customers, but also for every stakeholder in your business. There are only winners when you deliver great service.
It’s time to unlock the shackles of good and to once again aspire for greatness in your business, to design and deliver standout customer experiences that delight even the most demanding of patrons, to reignite the fire in your belly, to make a meaningful difference in the lives of your colleagues, customers and loved ones.
Excellence was never achieved by tolerating mediocrity. You will achieve greatness when you refuse to settle for the comfort and safety of good.