Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Listen to My Minion

Which is not a derogatory term, especially since she insists on being referred to as such.

I have tried to write this blog post many times.  I have started writing about my experiences at Borders, some of the wonderful people I met working there, some of the wonderful events I worked, my first day on the job, and a myriad of other Borders related tidbits.  I deleted most of that, and decided what I most wished to communicate was that a world with Borders in it, is far superior to a world without it.  Due to the lack of foresight of a select few of others, who were given a viable thriving company, and chose to mismanage it into the ground, all the while milking it for every last drop of money that could be had, we no longer have Borders.  But this isn't about laying blame either.  It's about loss.

So what I mourn for, is not the hulking behemoth that finally breathed it's last breath on September 19, 2011, but what was.  When the company believed in a preached things that it has long since lost, like the Service Profit Chain.  In case you missed it:

Profit and growth are stimulated primarily by customer loyalty. Loyalty is a direct result of customer satisfaction. Satisfaction is largely influenced by the value of services provided to customers. Value is created by satisfied, loyal, and productive employees. Employee satisfaction, in turn, results primarily from high-quality support services and policies that enable employees to deliver results to customers. The service-profit chain is also defined by a special kind of leadership that emphasizes the importance of each employee and customer (shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia, with citation below-1)

That was my Borders, and it has been dead for many years.  I can't get over the profound feeling of loss.  I left Borders three and a half years ago, and I don't feel like I have ever truly left it behind.  Some of my best friends in the world are people I met while working there, and these have been some of the defining relationships of my life.  I was introduced to some of my favorite artists, and writers by these truly magical wonderful people.  I can't help but think for one brief shining moment we made a difference in people's lives.  We introduced people to the authors and artists that made their lives better, legitimately changing people's lives for the better.  For one brief moment we lived up to the words in our mission statement:  

"To be the best-loved provider of books, music, movies, and other entertainment and informational products and services. To be the world leader in selection, service, innovation, ambiance, community involvement, and shareholder value. We recognize people to be the cornerstone of the Borders experience by building internal and external relationships, one person at a time."

So what I strive for every day, is to bring just a little bit of that magic to you, my loyal customers.  And believe you me, when it worked, it was nothing short of magic.

1. Heskett, James L., Jones, Thomas O., Loveman, Gary W., Sasser, W. Earl, and Schelsinger, Leonard A. "Putting the Service Profit Chain to Work", Harvard Business Review, (March-April 1994) 164-174

Posted by Vickie regardless of what the footer says

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