Best Best Practices

It helps to look for best practices to raise a client’s performance, but we often look in the wrong place first—outside the organization, toward the industry or profession. The best place is within the organization itself.That’s because we then know what realistic to achieve in the client’s own world.

When I worked with Mercedes Benz North America years ago, the executives thought I should study Lexus and BMW dealerships to find what their best service practices were, since the preponderance of Mercedes dealers were getting scathing reviews from customers. (Small wonder, it was the Age of Arrogance.)

I asked if any current Mercedes dealers where receiving excellent scores, and there were a dozen or so. I went there, found out what they were doing that others weren’t (e.g., having service advisers talk directly to customers, keeping the service areas spotless, having something for kids to do, sending gifts for referral business, etc.). We introduced those through the dealer council and raised the scores of everyone who was open to change within months. (The others had to be threatened by the company with franchise loss. It’s tough to threaten millionaires.)

Don’t assume the best is outside. It’s often inside, but no one has identified it nor communicated it. When you do, you’ll look like a hero.

© Alan Weiss 2015

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