The Paradox of Excellence: How Great Performance Can Kill Your Business
by David Mosby and Michael Weissman
When a company consistently provides excellent service it can become “invisible” to the client until something goes wrong. This book illustrates the problem through a parable about a trucking company. Their largest and most profitable customer has given notice to terminate their contract due to a botched delivery. Management is shocked, as there had been no previous problems with this client over the many years they have done business together.
“The paradox of excellence is this: As our performance improves, we become more invisible to our customers—to everything but bad news. As a consequence, customers lose sight of the true value we deliver because they forget the problems we eliminate.”
The authors’ solution is “to continuously reinforce your distinguishing value in a socially acceptable manner… Emphasize the long-term… When a problem does emerge, customers will see it as an anomaly.” Part Two of the book includes an overview of the concept, a self-assessment questionnaire, and a “Roadmap for Success.” The roadmap includes five steps: “Discover the expectations; define and select your distinguishing value; select the metrics to be made visible…; uncover the best source of data to use; deliver the information needed to keep your value in the minds of your customers and your employees.”
Of course this presumes your company’s performance is indeed excellent. Somehow, I don’t think continuously reminding your customers about your mediocrity is going to increase retention.
Mosby, David, and Michael Weissman. The Paradox of Excellence: How Great Performance Can Kill Your Business. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005. Buy from Amazon.com