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Ocado and the goose that laid the golden egg

I've learnt a lot over the years from Dr Stephen Covey the author among other things of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In the book Covey recalls the fable related to the goose that laid golden eggs. For those not familiar with the story it's a tale of a man who owns a goose that lays golden eggs. Impatient to get at the gold, the man cuts off the head of the goose to allow him to reach inside and pull out the gold. Alas, the action kills the goose and with it the gold supply. I really like this story as I can see many links to the modern business world.

I had an example of a company looking after its goose today. I took a grocery delivery from Ocado. I said to the delivery driver ‘I bet you're busy? His reply surprised me. He said, "No, not really. We’ve learnt lessons and one of them is to not overload deliveries, particularly at peak times".

It would be really easy for the Ocado management team to overload their system to allow them to cash in on short-term customer demand. On reflection their actual approach feels like a really smart customer service decision. You definitely don’t want to let your customers down. And you never know they might just tell others about the great service they have received (or even right a blog post).

I’ll leave you with this thought – where could you be increasing the level of customer service in your business even if it’s at the expense of short term profit?

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