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Success Newsletters

Vol 12, Number 7 September-October 2012

Task vs. Outcome

I’ve already mentioned I travel a lot, usually flying out of Toronto airport, which is about a 45-minute drive from my home. I use a car service company and have used them for years. They are competitively priced, reliable, have clean sedans, and good drivers to handle the crazy Toronto traffic and bad winter weather. It is one less stressful thing for me to worry about when I am on my way to an event.

Recently I came home very late one night from speaking in Calgary. I was very tired. At the end of the trip, the driver friendly as always bid me good night. I signed for the amount of the fare and included a tip. Each month the company sends me an invoice and I pay it. When the invoice arrived, I noticed the driver had charged me an extra $5.00 on the normal fare. While it is not a huge amount, on principle it needed to be fixed. You would think, especially for a long standing loyal customer like myself, and my wife uses this service to for her travel as well, so we are good customers and this would be a simple phone call, a no brainer.   I will protect the name of the stupid here by not mentioning the person I spoke to when I called. Rather than acknowledging me as a valued customer and taking action, she demonstrated what I would call “task-focus”.  She saw her job as answering the phone and taking the message. Instead of valuing me as a customer, she almost accused me of lying and told me in a stern voice, “You need to send me in your receipt and I will take a look at it when I have time. How do I know your even telling the truth?.”

In that short conversation, the company ran the risk of losing a customer who spends quite a bit of money with them each year. I chose to escalate. Within 20 minutes, I got a call back from the manager, and before I could even share my experiences with this other person, he apologized for his driver’s mistake, told me I was a valued customer and not to worry, he would sort this out immediately. Yes, $5.00 is a small amount and I am sure it was just an honest mistake by the driver, but anyone could have checked what the flat rate was between the airport and my home and know he had overcharged me. The difference is task vs. outcome focus.

A person who is task focused is one who comes in and does a job. Think of the customer service representative who is measured by the number of calls they take. They focus on taking calls and getting rid of customers to get to the next call. Customer service representatives who are outcome focused are more interested in efficiently satisfying customers, not just getting rid of them. They focus on creating advocates.   For those of you hiring new staff members, remember, you can always hire someone to go through the task of answering a phone say 50 times a day, that’s easy, but when you hire someone for outcomes, that person who deliver’s 50 world class experiences for people. A big difference. First impressions are long lasting.


Monthly Inspirational Quote

“The enemy of great is good”   Bonus quote:   “Focus only on people and things that are going to uplift you today”


Recommended Reading

Great by Choice  By Jim Collins  

This book is by the author of “Good to Great”, that has stood the test of time. In this one, Jim researches why some organizations survive and thrive in chaos when others are great for a moment. Ideas like balancing creativity with discipline, and maximizing ROL (Return on Luck) gave me reason to think. Well worth reading to add new ideas to our beliefs about leadership. __________________________________________________________________________

Date Added: November 26, 2012 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Newsletters

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