What Makes Great Companies?


There are organizations, in the world, that I put into the category of “great”. They are out front. They have a firm grip on their market. The rest try to “keep up.” What causes this? Are there common threads among these “super producers.”?


Disney, Starbucks, Chic-fil-et, The Container Store, Whole Foods, Williams Sonoma and Apple are great companies.


They have the following in common:


1. Consistency. You don’t often wonder what the experience will be “this time.” It will be very close to the wonderful experience you had last time. When there are exceptions, which can happen when humans are involved, they trip all over themselves to make up for their transgression.

This is critical. “Last time wasn’t quite as good as the time before. Maybe I should try someone else.”


2. Products. Great companies sweat the small stuff over the details of a fantastic product. Quality complaints strike fear in their heart. They have planned responses for the few below standard products that somehow “slip through”. A plan is in place on how to respond to complaints. Personnel know what to do, before it happens.


3. Delivery. This isn’t a discretionary happening. It isn’t left to the individual employees to respond “as they see fit.” There is a preplanned system of delivery and it’s taught according to a guideline ….and everyone follows it. Wiggle room might be given as to “exact” response but the overall, result expected, is made very clear.


4. Standards and Procedures. Dress codes, equipment care, presentation of products; are all pre-planned. It’s never a random outcome.

e.g. I’ve watched Starbucks employees put product on the shelf, using a photo that shows where each item is to be placed, in relation to each other. (Others do this, too) That professional presentation in their stores isn’t left to the chance that someone at the store will have an eye for design.


5. Pre-Planned Spoken Response. Rarely, will you find low level, unacceptable, responses. There are pre scripted answers to many things. People are taught how to respond in a way that is acceptable to the company. Again, “wiggle room” can be given for certain situations but the ultimate attitude and outcome is never left to the discretion of the employees. They have been trained on what is acceptable.


6. Employees Treated as Good as the Customers. Employees are valued. They are made to feel important and part of the process. These employers realize that employees treat their customers the same way they are treated.


If I had to pick a single common thread…… People. Good people, ingrained with the company culture, with examples to follow. Get the right people, then be the example of what you want them to be.

A lot of effort is put into this. The payback is tremendous.

Oh….another thing. They’re not cheap, yet people keep coming back. In fact, most of them must learn to deal with high volume.

Go figure.




                 MAKE MONEY!               




                      Dennis Klager
                IICRC Instructor

Copyright 2012 by Dennis Klager