Service (EXPERIENCE!) Excellence Found!

There is Excellence outside the NFL. And Service Excellence in 2005! Three TP Awards: Susan & I, part-time Bostonians these days, shopped Saturday at Whole Foods Market/Boston. WOW! Food ... AWESOME. Presentation ... AWESOME. Staff Attitude & Knowledge ... AWESOME. "Last Impression" (help with bags in an urban setting) ... AWESOME. Talk about "Experience Marketing" ... "Dream Merchants" ... "Lovemark"! These guys top Starbucks by a mile in my book!

Next up: Apple Store CambridgeSide Galleria. What a show! The "product," of course, is ... AWESOME. The ambience is ... AWESOME. The Staff Attentiveness & EXPERTISE & Teaching Skill are ... AWESOME. And on the Experience Front, Apple runs a blizzard of Cool Activities. (Last Saturday, for instance: 9-10am, "Getting Started Workshop;" 1-130pm, "iLife '04 Presentation;" 3-330pm, "iPod & iTunes Presentation;" 5-530pm, "GarageBand Presentation." On weekday evenings there are often advanced presentations.)

Finally, another nod to my 2004MVP, Commerce Bank; my colleague Ilene Fischer hung out at a Commerce call center last week ... trust me, it ain't your father's call center! Staffers are not measured on length of calls—they're encouraged to spend all the time they need with Clients. There are no voice messages or menus—all Clients are directly handled by Human Beings all-the-time ... and yet the response time is an average of 16 seconds, half that of the industry. All this lavish service, and they manage to grow almost 50 percent a year ... organically! (Oh yes, and their use of "WOW!" makes me look like a little leaguer!)

I'm VERY VERY BIG (as you know) on the DRAMATIC DIFFERENCE between "service" and "experience." These 3 exemplars are Grand Testimony to that ... DRAMATIC DIFFERENCE!!