Seth Godin had a very insightful post "The sad lie of mediocrity".
Call it Synchronicity — right after I read the post, I encountered mediocrity in action at local Barns & Nobles book store.
"Are you sure? This has been there for a month. Nobody is going to buy it any way."
"I don’t think it’s a back copy. You don’t see a newer issue, do you?" Apparently, the clerk didn’t even know whether the magazine was the current issue — the October issue was on the shelf.
The clerk went to take a break. I talked to another clerk, and got the same answer.
This is an opportunity for them to delight me as a customer. If they’ve offered me 20% discount, I’d have made the purchase even though the magazine was in really bad shape.
They would have built a relationship with me. I’d go back more and buy more books.
Amazon.com has been eating Barns & Noble’s lunch. If there is one advantage B&N has, that’s their physical presence and the face-to-face relationship they could build with their customers.
By not doing the 4% extra and being mediocre, they simply frustrated a customer.
After giving up buying the magazine, I went to the B&N cafe. The waitress was on the phone, laughing and chatting. She said to me "I’d be with you shortly". After a minute of waiting, she came to me.
"What can I get for me?"
"I want a tall Coffee Mocha".
"Sorry, our espresso machine is broken. We cannot make any espresso today."
I had no choice but left. It seemed that they found a way to stay in mediocrity, and not delight their customers.
Are you running a business or starting a company? Make sure your entire organization is aligned to take the extra steps to delight your customers.
To quote Seth Godin:
"Doing 4% less does not get you 4% less. Doing 4% less may very well get you 95% less."