Being Delightful Is No Substitute for Strategy

In a recent post on Tom Peters’ site, Seth Godin wonders how we should define excellence these days.  He writes that while people used to consider quality excellent, it’s become boring.  Just meeting the customer requirement isn’t enough – no one gets excited that their water company keeps the faucet running or that the local grocer has stocked shelves.  Instead, you have to set the bar for everyone and provide unique customer service like Virgin Atlantic or Ritz-Carlton.  You have to be “so surprising, so delightful, so over-the-top and, yes, so human that there really isn’t anyone else I’d rather dance with.”

Really?  I don’t think so.

Customer service fixation

Like Godin says, this definition of excellence is a moving target.  Once you slow down and your competitors provide the same level of service, you’re no longer excellent.  In my mind, contrary to popular opinion, sometimes chasing a moving target like that is a bad idea.  Or maybe more to the point, don’t chase the same moving target everyone else is. Continue reading Being Delightful Is No Substitute for Strategy