The Meticulous Creation of Great Service

Every famous beverage—from Dom Perignon to Coors beer—is laced with great stories. Champagne lovers know that a Benedictine monk and cellar master named Dom Perignon was the “father of champagne” and invited his friends over to “taste the stars!” Coors lovers enjoy the story of people from the East coast importing purchased beer in their luggage when the beer was only available West of the Colorado-New Mexico border.

I am a fan of Jack Daniels Single Barrel Sour Mash Charcoal filtered whiskey. There are many stories about founder Jack Daniel. I want to focus on the present-day story of how the whiskey is made. Fast-forward from the iron-free water from a nearby cave to the selection of corn descended from antique seeds that are mixed with rye and malted barley and then distilled to create mash ready for the filtering part of the process.

Sugar maple trees are cut down, dressed like lumber, and placed in a neat stack ten feet high in a giant vat much like a massive box of matches. The wood is set on fire and reduced to charcoal that is then placed and packed in another large container. The “mash” is poured into the container and allowed to slowly seep through the charcoal. It takes seven days for the whiskey to come out leaving it with a distinctively charcoal taste. Then, it is placed in white oak wooden barrels with their interiors charred and allowed to age for six years.

We live in a time of mass merchandising done quickly to satiate the cravings and desires of an ever demanding, ever-changing marketplace. Speed to market is as crucial as a productive shelf life in a retail store. The “need for speed” sentiment gets passed from object makers to experience creators. Self-service becomes a vital delivery channel; just-in-time service elevates customer expectations for faster and faster service. As customers, we hate to wait.

What would service be like if you made it better, more elegant, more unique, more special, more enduring…even if you sacrificed rapid turnaround to get it? Sure, you would lose the part of the marketplace that prefers mediocre in the moment. But, would you find a niche that so valued your carefully crafted offering they would pay a premium to get it?

Tesla Motors has found that 85% of consumers are willing to wait 3-4 weeks to get the exact vehicle they want. They resist the impulse to buy off the dealer’s lot. The payoff? Ninety-seven percent of Tesla owners say they would buy their vehicle again. Once again, what would be the impact on your customers if you slowed the quickness of service creation in order to fashion something so special your customers would be cheerfully willing to wait?

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