GUEST POST from Shep Hyken
In 1946, Leo Fender, founder of Fender’s Radio Service, renamed his company Fender Electric Instrument Company—better known as Fender—and it became an iconic music company that manufactures some of the greatest guitars and amplifiers on the planet. Leo Fender had a saying back then: “Artists are angels. It’s our job to give them wings to fly.”
You could call that saying a mission, vision or values statement. In just 12 words it sums up Fender’s desire to create the best musical instruments for his customers. Even though the company was sold to CBS in 1965 and then purchased by its employees in 1985, the words are still a part of Fender’s culture 77 years later.
I had a chance to interview Scot Pickerill, Fender’s vice president of Americas Inside Sales, Service and Sales Operations, for Amazing Business Radio, and he repeated Leo Fender’s vision. He referred to it as Fender’s “call to action.” He also shared several other ideas that I want to examine here. Before we get into that, you should know that Fender recognizes and supports two types of customers. There is a dealer network that sells the products. These range from independent “mom-and-pop” stores to large chains like Guitar Center. They also support the consumers who own and play their instruments.
So, with that in mind, here are five ways Fender rocks customer service. I’ll share Pickerill’s strategies, followed by my comments.
1. Continuous Improvement
Continuous improvement is about identifying friction points with every department involved and analyzing the process to correct problems and prevent issues from happening in the future.
Continuous improvement goes beyond improving the customer experience. It’s looking at every part of the process, including what’s happening behind the scenes. Even if the customers don’t feel any friction in their experience, it’s essential to eliminate or mitigate any internal friction caused by outdated or cumbersome practices and processes.
2. Treat Your Customers Like Partners
Fender doesn’t want to just sell a customer a guitar. They want to partner with customers in their musical journeys, and they want their partners to be successful. When they take care of their customers, the customers want to give back, and they do so in the form of repeat business.
3. Embrace Feedback from Both Customers and Employees
Fender goes beyond asking for feedback from its customers. It also asks for feedback from employees, especially those on the front line. And getting that feedback is just the start. As Pickerill said, “Feedback is one of the few things in life that is free. Take that feedback and do something with it.” I’ll add that once you do something with the feedback, let everyone know what you did. If you want more feedback, prove that you’re listening and taking action on the feedback you receive.
4. Get uncomfortable
Taking a business to the next level isn’t easy. There could be a little pain and fear involved. Innovation is about moving forward, and that requires change. Many people are happy to settle for the status quo because they are uncomfortable with anything new or different. But not Fender. Pickerill said, “The world is evolving daily. Customer expectations are increasing, and buying behaviors are shifting. Don’t be afraid to lean into discomfort, test new things and then measure to ensure that it’s working the way you designed it.”
5. It’s All About Culture
Pickerill is proud to acknowledge that Fender employees live, breathe and speak the brand. He sees the passion in employees, including executives. They have the desire to leave a mark and constantly improve to help artists and potential artists and make them as great as they can be. This way of thinking comes from the top down and is a perfect reminder of Leo Fender’s words, which Pickerill refers to as Fender’s call to action: “Artists are angels. It’s our job to give them wings to fly.”
Image Credit: Pexels
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