Jim Harrer

STARTUPS, TURNAROUNDS, APPDEV, AGILE & LIFE...

Corporate Attorneys can learn 3 lessons from Jack Daniel's

jack-daniels-vs-broken-pianoA letter dated July 12, 2012 from Christy Susman, a senior attorney for Jack Daniel's has gone viral throughout the Internet.  Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit, Digg, StumbleUp - it's being read by hundreds of thousands of people.  Why?  Because it breaks ranks with the typical harsh, "I'm going to bring you a lot of pain", tone that attorney's learn in law school.  Ms. Susman writes with professionalism, humility and a tone of class which is being dubbed:

The Nicest Ceast-And-Desist Letter Ever Written.

I think you'll agree with me, most corporations would probably cring to see one of their cease-and-desist letters out on the world wide web. Several months ago I had this exact same discussion with an attorney on the other side who justified his asshole tone by saying:

"No hostility intended, but, sometimes I have to wear the hat as the company's counsel."

"No, you're just a prick and have no class Jason," is what I thought and moved on. For some of us, life is simply too short to engage in 7th grade behavior. I think most attorneys, especially outside counsel, immediately go hostile because they want to fight. They're incentivize to fight. Unlike a real fight, they have nothing to lose because they get to run up their client's bill.

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A great customer experience begins with a smile

The Power of a Smile

It was a cold, dark January morning. The clock on my truck read 5:32am as I pulled out of my garage for a business meeting over to Portland. Two tons of steel was protecting me from the outside elements, yet I shivered as the ice mist hit my windshield.

My brain needed a jolt, so I headed over to Dutch Brothers Coffee, pulled up to the window, and was greeted with a big smile - “Good morning, what can I make for you this beautiful morning?” I’m charmed by her positive, friendly outlook. The combination of the friendly service and fresh roasted coffee resulted in a great way to start my day.

Dutch Bros. CoffeeCan a smile change where you do business? As I drove to Portland I reflected on my own experiences and thought about where I spent my money.

Magazines like Entrepreneur, Fast Company and Small Business have been writing articles covering great customer service for years. I love the legendary story of the Nordstrom clerk who accepted a return of automobile tires from a customer, even though Nordstrom doesn’t sell tires. However, most businesses simply can’t relate to that tale, and never focus on what they can do to improve repeat business. Can it be as simple as a smile?

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© Jim Harrer

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