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.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

June 4, 2010

3 Min Read


Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit

Chapter 6: Building Anticipation Into Your Products and Services

Don't Miss:
Micah Solomon's Seven Secrets of Driving Customer Loyalty

Mr. Biv And The Art Of Eliminating Defects

Sometimes problems have come up before and have been noticed by employees but are still hanging around. May we introduce you to Mr. BIV? When he's in charge, nothing ever changes.

Mr. BIV is a playful acronym coined by the group Leonardo worked with at The Ritz-Carlton. Addressing Mr. BIV helped them win two Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards. It remains one of the most useful-and easy to implement-quality improvement systems we've seen.

Mr. BIV is a streamlined, simplified, and easy-to-teach way to look for defects and defective situations; it can be adopted throughout an entire organization without requiring significant additional training. It stands for:

Variation in work processes

Any employee, at any level of your organization, not only may but must alert the appropriate person to a Mr. BIV situation at once so it can be addressed right away. When Mr. BIV is encountered, it helps to ask "Why" as many as five times to reach the root cause rather than merely the symptom. For example:

Problem: Late room service
WHY? Waiters stuck waiting for elevator
WHY? Elevator monopolized by housemen
WHY? Housemen searching for/storing/hoarding linens
WHY? Shortage of linens
WHY? Inventory of linens only sufficient for 80 percent occupancy

You can deputize every employee as an "improvement manager" who is responsible for helping to implement the Mr. BIV system.

Mr. BIV represents a concise example of a Continuous Improvement System. The Continuous Improvement paradigm was developed in manufacturing industries, so, unfortunately, service, white collar, and "creative" professionals often make a knee-jerk assumption that it is not relevant to what they do. This is their great loss-and their customers', too. It doesn't really matter whether your product is electrical insulation, freelance editing, or wedding photography: You will only be able to consistently deliver a superb product when you have an effective system for monitoring and improving the product. That is why it would be hard to overstate the value of applying continuous improvement to the service aspects of your organization. It can close the competitiveness gap for a latecomer to a service industry or widen the distance between a standout service leader and the also-rans.

It's powerful stuff.

Micah Solomon is president of Oasis Disc Manufacturing and the creator of The College of The Customer, an educational resource website for business executives and administrators. Leonardo Inghilleri is executive vice president and managing partner of West Paces Consulting.

Don't Miss:
Why SMBs Need A Strong Brand Ten Local Online Marketing Mistakes 12 Essential Android Apps For SMBs Built To Sell: A Company In Chaos How To Systematize Business Expertise

Follow InformationWeek SMB on Twitter @
Get InformationWeek SMB on your mobile device @

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights