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Peter Cross' First Axiom of Business: You can get to the top by being in the right place at the right time with the right product or idea, but you can't STAY at the top indefinitely unless you are CUSTOMER SERVICE ORIENTED.
An axiom is a self-evident truth upon which other knowledge must rest and from which other knowledge is built up. It is a basic assumption that is accepted without proof, and it needs no proof because its truth is obvious. The most successful businesses in the world understand my First Axiom of Business even though they didn't hear it from me, and they also understand:
Peter Cross' Second Axiom of Business: The First Axiom MUST be understood and implemented at the highest levels of the organization so that it will filter down to the lowest levels where the consumer is impacted.
Just a few examples of the most successful companies in the United States that exemplify Excellence in Business are Wal-mart, McDonalds, IBM, and on a smaller level, Trader Joes. Each of these companies dominate their fields by consistently offering quality products to fill a market need, and the CEO's as well as the Board of Directors believe that "the customer is always right". One glaring omission here is Microsoft who has obviously dominated their own market and virtually eliminated all competition, but I don't think any further comment on Microsoft is necessary because I would NEVER want to incur the wrath of Bill Gates!
Amazon.com is an excellent example of excellence in Internet business because:
Jeff Bezos is the President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board of Amazon. He graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1986, with a Phi Beta Kappa in electrical engineering and computer science. Jeff helped build one of the most technically sophisticated quantitative hedge funds on Wall Street for D. E. Shaw & Co., and he also led the development of computer systems that helped manage more than 250 billion dollars in assets for Bankers Trust Company. I'd say that's a fairly good resume! And it set him up pretty well to be able to implement his concept for an internet store. Back in 1996 when I first put this web site on the internet, hardly anybody was purchasing anything online because there was a fear that bordered on paranoia concerning credit card transactions in cyberspace. However, Jeff's vision included a correct belief that the public's fear would be overcome by implementation of security procedures that would actually work, and that within a relatively short time people would feel safe about purchasing online with their credit cards. His belief turned out to be correct, and because he was able to finance Amazon's marketing effort with seed capital to strategically place advertisements and establish a huge number of external links to Amazon.com, Jeff was thus able to be in the right place at the right time with the right idea as well as with the right products. Amazon is appropriately concerned that their vendors provide quality products and quality service. Feedback forms are provided so that customers can rate the vendors who are chosen to sell their products in Amazon's store. Complaints result in quick action from Amazon's customer relations department, including but not necessarily limited to eliminating vendors who do not measure up to Amazon's high standards of customer service.
I jumped on board Amazon's train comparatively late in their long ride to success. It happened during 2005 after I got fed up and disgusted with cable TV. I work intensely every day on this web site but by about 9 PM, I need a break. I love movies but I've seen them all and most of them more than twice. And the ones they show on cable TV, I've seen an embarrassing number of times. So one day it occurred to me that there are a relatively small number of movies that they never show on TV - movies that are "10's" by my definition and I realized that if I owned a copy, I could watch it over and over again and not get bored. I began my search by looking for "A Thousand Clowns" which is a movie not very many people know about. I saw it on my first date with my high school sweetheart so it has some very bittersweet memories but it's a perfect movie with no flaws. I discovered that it's out of print and very difficult to find, but my Google search led me to Amazon where I found only one copy for sale. At $25, that was a stretch for me but I figured "what the hell, I may never see another copy" so I bought it. Then I searched through Amazon's movie listings and I found that Amazon is a gold mine for movies on either VHS or DVD. I realized that I had found one web site that had everything I was looking for. So why look anyplace else? No good reason to look anyplace else surfaced, so I began my buying spree slowly but surely. At this point in time, I've assembled a completely cool collection of hard to find movies and my experience with Amazon and their vendors has been impressive. One thing I insist on if I'm going to do business with a business, is that they have a customer service department that I can call on the phone if I encounter any problems. To be blunt, Amazon does have one, but you have to dig very deep into their web site to find them. They don't list their phone number and at first, that bothered me. So being the expert researcher that I am, I simply located the city they're in and looked up their phone number. After talking with them, I understood why they don't list their phone number on their web site. It's because they do such an unbelievable volume of business on the internet that they are simply unable to field all the irrelevant calls that would come in if they put their number on their site. Well, what do I care? I have their number and I use it when I need to.
I've bought some other things on Amazon, I'm a very satisfied customer, and that's one reason why I wrote this page. I do the vast majority of my non-food shopping at Wal-mart because I love the Wal-mart experience. I enjoy chatting it up with their overage greeters, I enjoy browsing and even impulse buying, and I've found that their customer service exceeds any definition of the word "excellence". Wal-mart is incredible by any definition of that word. Recently, I was taking a shower and using a real boar bristle back brush (like my alliteration?) that I had bought at Wal-mart for 94 cents. While hot water soothed my aching upper back, I stared at the brush and wondered, "How is it possible to put a thing like this on a retail shelf for 94 cents? The wholesale cost has to be around 75 cents. Now where are you gonna find a boar who will give up its bristles for nothing? My God, the shipping and handling costs alone have to exceed a dollar!" And then the answer came to me. I strongly suspect Wal-mart's upper management. I think they might be jealous of Sam Walton's family fortune and angry about Sam's lazy relatives who are pissing it away. I suspect that the execs are purposely trying to bleed the fortune to death by selling quality merchandise at a loss to people like me!
Well, I have to stop somewhere, don't I? I hear that Jeff Bezus is a billionaire now. Right on, Jeff!
Web page design copyright 1996 © , text copyright 2006 © Peter Cross