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Building Anticipation Into Your Products And Services

To succeed, businesses must think like customer and systematically incorporate procedures and build in product features that improve the customer's experience.

The following excerpt from Leonardo Inghilleri and Micah Solomon's "Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization" is presented by InformationWeek SMB courtesy of AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

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Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit

Chapter 6: Building Anticipation Into Your Products and Services

Putting Processes to Work for You

Has Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz read Catch-22? Probably. What seems less likely is that Mr. Schultz has ever signed up for his own in-store Internet service.

Micah explains:

I had some work to do while out of town, so I headed to Starbucks to try their new free WiFi. First step: I had to get a Starbucks card in order to sign up for free Internet. Okay, I guess. I purchased the card and filled in all of my personal information via my laptop. But then I got a message from AT&T/Starbucks Internet telling me to check my email account for an access verification code so I could complete the login process and begin using my new Internet account. Of course, I didn't have email access. That's why I bought the card and went through the sign-up process in the first place. So in effect this message was telling me to drive home, check my email, click a link to get an access code, and then drive back to Starbucks.

We find a lot to admire in Howard Schultz. (One example: He's made it his personal mission to provide health-care benefits even to part-time workers.) But in this particular case, his company overlooked the following straightforward principle: A business needs to think like a customer. It needs to put in place processes that will mercilessly search and destroy anything that might inconvenience or disgruntle a customer. It must systematically incorporate procedures and build in product features that improve the customer's experience.

Let's look at how you go about this.

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