Last week, I gave a presentation at the Wachovia Services Summit, a conference full of Wachovia Bank branch managers that had come together to learn how other companies differentiate themselves through customer service. I was invited to speak about some of the client-focused practices we use here at Blue Fish. I was speaking alongside representatives from Nordstrom, Whole Foods, and Four Seasons Hotels, all of whom are famous for their great customer service, and I was honored to be included amongst such heavy hitters.
My presentation talked about the things Blue Fish has done to build what I call a Client Service Culture — an environment where we put our clients first and try to go out of our way to make them happy. It’s always fun to tell our story to people who have never heard it before. We’ve been doing some of these things for so long, it doesn’t seem very unusual, but I was surprised at the feedback I received telling me how innovative we are being.
For example, the Wachovia bankers were shocked to learn that the typical candidate at Blue Fish is interviewed by eight different people (for some roles, it can be as many as eleven). We do this not only to get a variety of perspectives on the candidate, but also so that our candidates can meet as many of their potential coworkers as possible. Culture fit is a two-way street, and we want to make sure that our candidates meet enough people to get a good feel for our company’s personality. Of course, we don’t conduct eight separate interviews. We have a few people in what we call a panel interview, and we send a couple more to lunch with the candidate. But by the time all is said and done, our candidates have gotten to know us pretty well.
I think Wachovia is being pretty innovative as well. How many companies do you know of that have a conference for their managers that is focused exclusively on customer service? You can tell that they care about their customers and are committed to continuous improvement. Wachovia is one of the fastest growing banks in Texas, and it’s largely due to their focus on the customer.