Excellence. We hear about it, and think we know what it means. As consumers, whether we consciously think about it or not, we know what we want when we hand over our hard-earned money. We want what we paid for. Or, more importantly, we want what we think we paid for. At the very least, we want what the seller said we would get.
Since we are all consumers, why doesn't this expectation find its way into our businesses more often? Are our business models so complex that providing excellence is just too hard?
The only way we will be excellent is if we determine in advance to be so. Everyone in business wants to differentiate on service. Who wouldn't? But so what? How serious are we about actually delivering on that promise? How much effort do we put into actually designing excellence into the very DNA of our companies? It doesn't happen by accident or osmosis, or by good intentions. It happens when we make a commitment to be excellent, define what excellence means, and build processes that deliver the goods.
Challenge yourself to take a serious, honest look at your delivery, your products and services, how you take care of your customers, how you listen and react, and so on. Ask your customers for their feedback. If they at least like you, they'll have a vested interest in helping you to be better!
Make this more than an academic exercise. Commit time each month to brainstorm ways to ratchet up the excellence factor. Write your ideas down and formulate them into an actionable plan. Implement your best ideas and measure the results. I believe you will find that you will be ahead of the curve.