This past week I went into an auto parts store and received excellent customer service. The people who worked with me were upbeat, knowledgeable, and courteous; and they appeared to be having a good time. It turned out that my problem was covered by a warranty. They dealt with the issue quickly and easily, and I was on my way feeling as if I had made new friends. After I got home, I asked myself, are we at the point where excellent customer service is now innovative?
I reflected on various customer service experiences I have had in the past few months. I realized that great customer service is definitely unusual. I came to the conclusion that while such attention to the customer, or end user, may not be innovative, it is definitely part of innovation.
In Edison’s time, they did not talk about customer service in the same way we do now, but he did have insights into helping the people who used his innovations. He once said, “My philosophy of life is work. Bringing out the secrets of Nature and applying them for the happiness of man—I know of no better service to render during the short time we are in this world.” Focusing on the happiness of the customer or user of the innovation may be one of the untapped keys to successful innovation. So, if you are having problems with your innovation, focus on the happiness of your customer, it may make all the difference.
This blog was originally posted November 19, 2012