407.734.3638 nic@nicnatarella.com

Too often we get tunnel vision – or as Roy Williams puts it, if you sell wine, you’re “inside the bottle.”

If customers/clients flocked to you, based solely on your product or service, you should set up vending machines, sit back and watch your bank account overflow.  From cosmetics to combines, attorneys to autos, stereo speakers to pumping septic tanks…there is a human element that does more to promote – or destroy – your company.

Two months ago, I went to see a doctor about a nagging cough.  I had been sick four or five weeks ago, got over it in less than a week, but the cough would NOT go away!  It was driving me crazy!  To me, there seemed no reason for the cough – no congestion, no allergies, no….whatever.  But the cough persisted and would send me into coughing fits without warning.  I could go hours without an attack…I could cough my head off for twenty minutes straight.  There seemed no rhyme or reason to it.

At the end of my appointment, my doctor told me “sometimes a cough can hang on for 5 or 6 weeks.”  She ordered some blood work and a chest x-ray and told me she would have the results “this afternoon” and would call me later today or at the latest “tomorrow”.


I received no phone call that afternoon, nor the next day.

Weeks went by without a call.

Three weeks later, I received a customer survey.  In the survey, I told my story again.  Finishing with, “to this day I haven’t received a phone call about my test results.”  You would think I would receive a call within a few hours!!  Nope.  Nothing.

Here we are, almost two months later, my wife decided to call for the results.  My wife hands me the phone, I give my permission to the receptionist for the doctor to speak with my wife if I am unavailable.  The receptionist assures me the doctor will be calling with my results – honestly, I don’t remember if the receptionist made a time-commitment.

So, here I write, 48 hours later, and still haven’t gotten a phone call with my test results.

What am I talking about?

My cough?

A diagnosis?

Medical procedures?

A prescription?

None of the above.  That would be “inside the bottle.”

I’m more burned by the broken promise and commitments by the doctor and the doctor’s office.  Customer service.  That is “outside the bottle.”

Take a good look at your operations…are you losing customers, yes, sales, because of:

  • the way you answer the phone?
  • the way your support personnel are dressed?
  • the way your front line people treat your clients?

It’s a tough question to ask, but you have to ask it:  What are you doing beyond your product or service, that is bringing in or pushing away customers?