Fun, Free, and Profitable

Both articles this week focus on the ways that a company can improve productivity by caring more about the person, and not just the bottom line.  The articles differed in that one looked at improving customer relations through the exploits of a single employee.  This concentrated on changing business culture on more of a micro level.  The second article was much more macro in scope.  It talked about companies that began treating employees more leniently and allowing them to establish a work-life balance.  In both cases these changes led to financial success.

The first article focused on UA Captain Denny Flanagan.  It details Captain Flanagan’s sustained effort to go the extra mile for his passengers.  He did things like calling a flying alone child’s parents on a safe landing and buying McDonald’s for the all of the passengers when a flight was delayed.  The story then related anecdotes of customers who gained a new found respect for United Airlines and it was all because of the pilot.  It is no secret that excellent customer service can go along way in ensuring future patronage.  The problem is that many corporations think that providing excellent service will be prohibitively expensive.  What they fail to realize is that providing exemplary service may actually not be expensive, in fact, it may be profitable.  The three main things that distinguish companies from each other is price, quality, and deliverability.  Companies tend to focus too much on that first part and just skip over the others.

The first article looked at improving relations between the firm and others; the second focused on improving the relations inside the company.  One of the companies the article focused on was a property-casualty ensurer called Acuity.  Acuity added fitness facilities so that employees could more easily find time to exercise.  they also provided them with flexible scheduling that allowed them to work on their time.  The company immediately saw a spike in production and a decreased rate of voluntary turnover among employees.  By making Acuity a better place to work, they also made it a place where better work got done.  It is nice to see employers becoming more interested in their employees’ well-being a company can only be a strong as it workers.  And what kind of workforce can be stronger than a healthy, invested one?

These stories remind me of something that happened a few years ago.  My brother was going to Guatemala for a mission trip and his passport had not arrived at our house.  It was supposed to take 6 weeks to be delivered after it had been ordered and it had already been 8.  My dad called the office in San Francisco and they did not have it ready.   So, my father called Representative Dean Heller’s office and asked him about it.  Representative Heller took time out of his day to get the passport place to fast track my brother’s passport and get it sent to our house overnight with complementary express mail.  Now, my father is a registered Democrat and generally leans a little left in many of his policy preferences.  However, because of what Representative Heller (a conservative Republican by the way) did, he has made a voter for life out of my father.  Has anything like this ever happened to you?  Has there ever been a time when exceptional customer service has made you a life long patron to one brand or another?



  1. Tnelson said,

    September 30, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Your blog is so informative … ..I just bookmarked you….keep up the good work!!!!

  2. RobD said,

    October 6, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Hey, I found your blog in a new directory of blogs. I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, anyway cool blog, I bookmarked you. 🙂 🙂

  3. October 9, 2009 at 10:47 am

    There is obviously a lot to know about this. There are some good points here.

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