(*Of course, the word “customer” takes on a whole new meaning when your customer is a child struggling to learn and it makes the difference in them having a better, more fulfilling life.)
Where to begin? The summer has been a whirlwind for the Sales and Marketing Team at PCI. The Fall Catalogs are out, the web has new offers and PCI began the year-long celebration of our 20th Anniversary in business.
With so many highlights to write about, I will focus on one for this post – our 2-day leadership seminar with Howard Hyden. Howard is a fascinating speaker that has worked with hundreds, nay thousands of companies in every imaginable industry from food service to major NASA contractors. He is also the founder of the Center For Customer Focus – NOT customer service, he says, customer FOCUS - there is a difference. Simply put, customer focus is getting input from the customer first about what they want or need. Sounds so simple that everyone should be doing it, right? Yeah, not so much. Howard warned everyone that once the seminar was over we would all be hyper-aware of lack of customer focus when we see it and, oh boy, I could write an entire blog about that! Alas, I digress.
Howard pointed out opportunities, shared experiences and gave all of us some great ideas that we can implement in our departments. It was a very enriching two days and during that time I realized that the spirit of PCI is incredibly customer-focused.
It was a great feeling to recognize that some of the key principles that Howard spoke about are things that PCI does quite naturally. For example, when a new product concept is developed, (Bwooop, bwooop, please remember the person writing this is merely a web manager, not an educator / thanks) the Product Development Team takes great pain to see how it will work for a student with any variety of special needs. Will the student be able to hold the card, will the color contrast be enough, are there too many words on the page? Years and years of classroom experience and research are all brought together to address the smallest detail.
In a similar way, when the sales team attends a curriculum fair or presentation, a great deal of work goes in to asking what the customer needs before we start packing. Based on the needs of the student, sometimes the team will customize a group of products into a kit solution specifically for the district or classroom.
No organization can be perfect is every aspect, but I believe PCI has a huge lead over so many companies today, simply because we measure our success by the success of our students.