All organizations define formally or informally the minimum standards of performance expected from their staff in order to achieve average performance. The average performance is when an organization is performing at a level not better than the competition. An individual organization cannot therefore attain sustainable success at an average level of performance because it is not performing better than the competition.
Winning performance standards
To achieve sustainable success the organization has to perform far better than the competition on a consistent basis. The winning performance levels are unfortunately not defined by most organizations! This is left to the discretion of management and staff depending on the attitude towards sustainable success of the organization.
The active resource in an organization
The only active resource in an organization is the employees who have the capacity to perform harder and better in order to exceed the set standards. All approved plans of an organization define the minimum level of performance but not the ceiling. The practice of employees working harder than the set standards is referred to as walking an extra mile.
Chasing away customers
Most organizations render service to customers from 8.00am to 5.00pm. This in the mind of most staff is only time customers can be served. It is a ceiling in their mind! I have on a number of times been closed out by the employees of the banks, restaurants, supermarkets etc because I have arrived at exactly the time for closing. On inquiry I am always told that the time for serving customers is over until the following day. Who says business is only done from 8.00am to 5.00pm? Certainly not the customers but the suppliers of goods and services.
Recently I went to an international bank’s credit card office in Nairobi to collect my card and I arrived two minutes to closing time and found the security guide closing. I was told it is time to close on order of management. I informed the security that I was a prestige card holder. He just gave me a look which told me I was not wanted. The more I explained the more the guard closed me out.
I was only served after I called someone senior in the bank with a threat of closing my accounts with the bank. This is what we call know-who customer service. I am sure I was served because I was too noisy to the management which noise they did not want to be heard by the competition.
I have noted employees tend to be very strict on closing time but relaxed on opening time. When you arrive immediately after opening time you are told to wait a little as they are setting up to serve you. This is double standards which chases away customers from your organizations. You want customers to be patient with you at opening time but you are very impatient with them at closing time!
On some occasions I am impressed by staff that have gone extra mile to serve their customers. I have found myself lining -up at restaurants, hotels, banks, doctors; lawyers etc to receive service because of employees of these organization walk an extra mile in the service of customers. I have gone to food courts in major shopping malls and I have noted some outlets are busy and some are not! I guess the only difference is the extra mile walked by the staff of the busy outlets.
I have also noted taxi drivers who are busy full time and yet customers are prepared to wait for them. The reason behind this is the extra mile walked by the tax driver.
There is goodwill with walking the extra mile
When you an extra mile you are clearly ahead of competition in terms of quality customer care. Your customers always come back for repeat orders and also recommend your business to their friends. The repeat and referral business for sure greatly reduce your marketing expenses.
John Muhaise Bikalemesa
Director: Big Drum Advisory Services Limited