One of my favorite mail order businesses is Zingerman's, a world famous deli based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Recently, the New York Times did a wonderful profile of the company's incredible business model, which encourages employees to grow with the business and pitch new business ideas to expand the Zingerman's portfolio of enterprises.
Part community college, part incubator, part retail operation, Zingerman's promise is based on an assumption that the staff has drunk the Kool Aid, or rather, Ann Arbor's own Clancy Fancy Hot Sauce.
Another employee, Tess Eastment, who was starting work in the catering business, said, “I was pretty cynical when I started working here but have to admit, I am drinking the Kool-Aid now.”
“I hate that analogy,” Mr. Weinzweig said to her. “That Kool-Aid killed people and cults imply being secretive. We are totally open.”
Not surprisingly, there are reams of research studies exploring the connection between a customer's experience and the service they receive from employees of the businesses they frequent. In the September 2013 issue of the Harvard Business Review called the Truth About Customer Experience, the authors spell out that tight connection.
In our research and consulting on customer journeys, we’ve found that organizations able to skillfully manage the entire experience reap enormous rewards: enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction. They also discover more-effective ways to collaborate across functions and levels, a process that delivers gains throughout the company.