Safelite AutoGlass and Customer Delight

This is my last reflection from the OpsInsight Forum in Boston.

One of the breakout sessions during the OpsInsight Forum was a Think Tank Discussion group.  I participated in the Creating a Customer-Focused Culture discussion led by Tom Feeney, CEO of Safelite AutoGlass.

Tom started off by asking the group if there was a difference between ‘customer satisfaction’ and ‘customer delight’.  The group unanimously agreed there was.   To the group, customer delight meant going above and beyond what was expected.

Tom explained to the group that Safelite’s #1 goal is customer delight.  Then he shared two customer letters that were sent in to convey his point.

One letter was from a teacher that had her glass repaired in the parking lot of her school while she was teaching.  The repairman came in to her classroom when he was finished to let the teacher know.  The teacher was in the middle of trying to determine which student stole a pastry from another kid in the class.  As the teacher explained that lying and stealing were bad she asked the repairman what would happen if he stole from his job.  The repairman explained that he would get fired.  Nobody ever confessed to taking the pastry so one kid went without.  Two hours later the repairman showed back up to the school and delivered another pastry he had bought with the kid who did not get one.  The teacher asked why he did it and he replied that he has children of his own and if that happened to them he would be heart broken about it.

Now someone might say that is outside of his scope of work and is an exception and they may be right.  But think about customer satisfaction.  That is meeting the customer’s needs.  No more.  No less.  Showing up on time.  Doing the work as it was suppose to be done.  Doing the work right the first time.  Aren’t these things we expect.  This isn’t something that goes to customer delight.  These aren’t things that standout and really capture the attention of a customer.  Are they?

Bringing a pastry back for a student will cause the experience to be talked about in a positive light and stick with people.  It caused customer delight.

I asked Tom how he fosters customer delight over efficiency.  Tom said through recognition.  So, I followed by asking how Safelite recognized the repairman from the example above.  The answer made my jaw drop.  Tom said he presented the employee with a check for $10,000 in front of the company.  You read that right.  No there are not too many zeroes.

Talk about a statement. Tom and Safelite are serious about creating a culture that values and strives for customer delight.

I’m not saying every company should be that extreme in recognition but I would challenge each company to evaluate how they recognize employees striving to reach the company’s vision/mission like above.  Is your company serious about reinforcing the culture it wants to see?

Posted on June 1, 2011, in Culture, Customer Focus and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Matt,

    Great post! I’m not sure that $10,000 is the answer to every situation that warrants recognition but one thing is very clear. Safetlite is serious about recognition. You asked a great question by the way. Thanks for sharing.


    • Chris –

      I agree. $10,000 may not be the answer for everyone to do, but the message about customer delight came through loud and clear to our discussion group. Also, that sends a very strong message to the rest of the company. It was refreshing to see a company stand behind their beliefs so strongly and proudly.

  2. This is just one of many great customer delight stories Safelite has to share! We have an annual award program called Exceptional Customer Service Awards, which this particular technician received, earning him the $10,000 prize. Every associate who receives a compliment from a customer gets a hand written note or a phone call from Tom, thanking them. Tom lets his people know how appreciated they are every day! Thanks for sharing this story!

    • Melina –

      Thanks for sharing more about what Safelite is doing to recognize customer delight. Tom was great to meet and talk with. He is very passionate about customer delight and I wanted to share that with others.

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