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INTRODUCTION

There is one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life—reciprocity.

 —CONFUCIUS

 

At this point in the book, I expect some readers might be thinking, "Okay, so let's say I innovate cutting-edge solutions that change the future of my industry, increase service consistency, enhance customer experiences, develop a safety culture, and even practice continual quality improvement. How will all this affect customer loyalty, my business's bottom line, and its sustainability?" UCLA's fastidious efforts with regard to product and service innovation have generated numerous positive economic and business-related outcomes. As a result, UCLA's "high service" approach serves as a case study for investing in customer experience excellence.

Many leaders think that enhancing the customer experience is an important value proposition, but many also have an inflated sense of the quality of the experience that their companies are currently providing. Some studies suggest that 80 percent of CEOs think that their business is offering an exceptional experience, although only 8 percent of customers come to the same conclusion. That distortion notwithstanding, most leaders at least think about enriching their service environment. In essence, who wouldn't want to deliver the best possible experience for their customers? Even senior leaders in companies with a customer-centered mystique like Simon Cooper, CEO of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, talk about helping their people continually strive for the "ultimate customer experience" and set a new gold standard for "how good good can be."

Unfortunately, for a consultant, hearing a CEO say, "I want to improve the experience for our customers" is somewhat like hearing a beauty pageant contestant suggest that she wants to "create world peace." Both are noble, omnibus, cliché phrases that will not draw overt resistance from anyone. Who would vocally oppose peace or better service delivery? The problem arises in execution. Ultimately, many of those well-intentioned leaders fail to deploy effective service strategies because they do not believe that investing in customer experience enhancement will result in compelling deliverables for their business. These leaders essentially acknowledge that elevating all contact points in the customer journey is an admirable pursuit, but they can't reliably predict that the cost of those improvements will produce outcomes such as increased revenues or organic growth. The two chapters that cover this principle, "Service Serves Us," will build a business case for taking a high experience value approach to your business. Using UCLA as an example, I will offer insights into what I will call ROE, or return on experience. UCLA has invested extensively in providing improved service consistency and an enriched patient experience, and this chapter will explore the following benefits (ROEs, if you will) that UCLA has received from those investments:

  • Greater profitability

  • Improved customer loyalty and increased referrals

  • Team mobilization toward a common goal

  • Positive staff morale, retention, and recruitment benefits

  • Strong community support for UCLA's ...

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