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Good Service Now Requires “Beating The System”?
So Broken. Now what?

SLOW DOWN! Reflect on the art & on your customer service!


Just like this broken glass turned into art by Symon Berger, what do we do now about service to fix it? Just this morning, I went to the grocery store and had to bag my own groceries while an unfriendly cashier just stood and watched (and it wasn’t Aldi’s). And then there’s this… AARP actually has a COVER STORY about service called “Beat The System! Get The Fair Treatment And Good Service You Deserve” by Allan Roth, September 2021.  This name says it all. What can we do to set a new framework for service and create a version of service that is not so shattered, just like Berger did with his art?


Let’s talk about

  • The artist, Symon Berger
  • The AARP article (our broken glass)
  • Checking basics, adding short term, connected service strategy


Symon Berger Creative Art From Shattered Glass

There is a lesson here. Switzerland based Symon Berger has taken shattered glass and created beautiful images. Symon marks the glass with the desired portrait and then takes a hammer with various taps to create white shatter markings. Berger started out with an interest in using car parts for art  and stumbled upon windshields as a medium. Maybe we can do the same. Maybe we can simply stop for minute and find a way to dig out and improve service.

AARP Article

What a shock! For someone interested in great service, I was startled to see the idea that BAD service is now considered somewhat of a base system. The AARP article tried to give tips on how to finally speak to someone, anyone, that will help you mostly online or on the phone – threaten to cancel, ask for a supervisor, keep good notes, be ready to wait. Staffing, Covid, automation, product over service have created a service void. Tip lists should not be needed.


Service as a product

What can you and your team do?

Be competitive, check the basics – In the Wharton EDX class on Competitive Strategy they highlighted that you don’t have to be over the top for your industry but you definitely have to match or exceed in your specific space. For instance, the cashier this morning should have helped with bagging groceries. It’s a basic.


Temporarily set up allowances

Offset the aggravation short term. Customers cannot be on hold forever without some enhanced service after a long wait. Until things get better, can you give customers some kind of heightened service? Free item or add on service, some credit back, offering to answer any extra question they might have, etc… Just short term.  Build in flexibility to make up for the current craziness.


Again, Connect Your Strategies

Don’t assume that your focus on product profitability is really working. As discussed in another Wharton EDX class,  The Connected Strategy, the shift to online has fragmented the customer experience. Your team needs to lay it all out and see that it flows smoothly for the customer throughout the entire process not just to the point of sale. As each product manager presses ahead for profitability, make sure it fits with resources and the clients’ overall needs. Put BIG glasses on before any roll out.

Symon Berger found a way to make the shattering of glass an admired artist. Do the same with your shattered service image. Make service important, offer short term positive surprises and make sure to connect all of your efforts and products back to great service. Mary Furrie, shifting efforts to consulting!

AARP article – “Beat The System! Get the fair treatment and good service you deserve” by Allan Roth, September 2021

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