Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Saturn Way

For a time I sold cars at Saturn.  For some people, those cars were absolutely perfect, reliable and the level of service we provided was exceptional. 

We had a General Manager, Rob, who used to admonish us to behave in "the Saturn way."  This unofficial and nebulous standard of professional behaviou referred to integrity, self-assurance, customer focus, teamwork and joy.  It was more often measurable by it's occasional absence.

If a salesperson ever was tempted to take advantage of a customer, Rob would ask "is that the Saturn way?"  The process demanded truth and full disclosure.  If one of us tried to sell a car without first listening to the customer's needs, Rob would remind us "that's not the Saturn way." The Saturn way was all about determining customer needs, not hastily acting on a hunch.  It wasn't about one sale, it was about a satisfied customer for life (many of whom remain friends to this day).  Heaven help us if we tried to cut corners, or if anyone gossiped behind a coworker's or customer's back.  That was definitely not "the Saturn way".  I'm not saying it didn't happen, I'm saying none of us wanted to be thought of doing things other than the Saturn way.

The car is gone from General Motors now and arguably so is the ideal, but from time to time in my current occupation I can hear a voice in my head asking me "is that the Saturn way?"  If the answer is yes, then I know we have ourselves a great deal and probably a lasting customer friendship.

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