If I were starting a retail company today, my first call would go to Santa to sit on my board. Who better to guide a sprouting retailer on production processes, fulfillment and more importantly, customer experience? While Santa may be too busy at the moment to attend to such a matter personally, I think it is worth our time to consider what makes his operation so successful and maybe figure out a way to apply at least one element into our own companies.
First of all, an entire town of freakishly talented and devoted (not to mention free) employees seems to be the largest disconnect between Clause Enterprises and the rest of the business world. While free labor is probably not going to happen, every company in the world can always do a better job at hiring. Before you hire just for talent, consider proper cultural fit and someone who really loves what they do. True devotion isn’t a byproduct of a big paycheck; Put someone who really loves what they do in an environment that inspires them and rewards them for producing quality work. If you can hire and manage to this formula you will see devotion flourish in your employees.
Now consider the efficiency with which Santa’s workshop operates. A labor force, management team, processes and inventory working like a hyper-efficient machine to produce high quality products year in and year out. While I have never been to the North Pole, I can only assume that everyone involved is on the same page and measures are in place to make sure they are operating at peak levels. Think about your company, is everyone on the “same page”? What about your division or even just your department? How do you know if you are operating at peak levels? What do you measure? How do you track and disseminate those metrics across the company? Are your metrics telling you yesterday’s headlines or today’s? Something to think about.
At last, but certainly not least, the thing that makes a gift from Santa so special is the experience with which it is given. When your customers do business with you, no matter what line of business you are in, do they walk away with a feeling of excitement, appreciation and satisfaction or did they see right through your dirty, fake beard and tattered red suit? Were they mesmerized by your sparkling eyes and rosy cheeks or did they smell the burger and fries you ate before you started your shift? The fact is, pretty much anything Santa gives to a child can be found online or in a brick and mortar shop. It isn’t what he gives, but how he gives it. A great customer experience doesn’t have to be expensive but it does require thought, care and a genuine appreciation of your customer. The good news for every company is that all of those traits are practically free and will exude from a devoted company filled with elves that are more concerned about making a young girl or boy smile this holiday season than watching the clock waiting for the whistle to blow at quitting time.