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a blog by Chris Barrow

The Cause

I’m reading Seth Godin’s new book “The Icarus Deception” and loving it.

In the first chapter, the following sentence leapt out of the page at me: “If your team is filled with people who work for the company, you’ll soon be defeated by tribes of people who work for the cause.” You already know how many times I comment in these posts on excellent customer service. Customer service is not a system – the bored assistant in a store who wishes me a “nice day” in a monotone voice without making eye contact is not “serving” she is just “doing”. What astonishes me still after all these years is that businesses will invest thousands in window-displays, fancy decor and branding/marketing – and then employ low-paid staff with little training and who do not CARE. Businesses don’t excel at customer service – people do. Businesses create systems. Leaders create “causes” and attract other people who “care” and are just looking for an environment in which their talents can be put to the test. I have often repeated the Four Seasons Hotel motto that “you cannot train people to deliver customer service – its the way they are brought up”. The word in Godin’s sentence that made me stop and think was – “cause”. I have to admit that my first thought was….. “OK – so let’s look at BKH and at Same Day Smiles – in each case, what is the “cause” that would have our team “care”?” Then……. “Now think about our clients, partners and site holders – what is the “cause” that attracts them to us – and what “cause” attracts their patients to them?” Barrow Kwong Hing – dentistry, education, management. So what? Same Day Smiles – replacing missing teeth and fixing dentures with implants. So what? Your dental practice – providing state of the art dentistry in a relaxed and comfortable environment? So what? We have to do better. To evolve a tribe of people who work for our cause – and to attract clients and patients who want to be a part of that tribe. That is the challenge for the New Year. I’m going to be asking the tribe here at BKH and SDS to answer a simple question – and I suggest you gather your tribe together and do the same. Question – “what is it that we do that makes such a difference to our team/clients/patients/suppliers/partners that they will tell other people about our cause?” (I’ll tell you now that the answer will not be coaching or dentistry – it will be about the quality of the relationships that we build and the way in which we cherish and nurture those relationships. All the technology and intellect in the world, all the smart branding and marketing, will not equal the positive influence of ONE person on your business who CARES)

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