Anne Miller — Words Matter Make What You Say Pay!
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Author | Speaker | Coach
Words Matter – Make What You Say Pay!


Metaphor Minute: Think Like Einstein

The METAPHOR MINUTE Newsletter by Anne Miller

March 6, 2013

Think Like Einstein

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

What do a hospital and the Executive Education division of a publishing company have in common? Jim Hathaway, CMO of that company, would have said nothing—nothing, that is, until his daughter had spinal fusion surgery at CHOP, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Jim reports, “As part of the experience, the hospital practices a model of care that they refer to as KIDS CARE. It is an acronym that covers all aspects of patient privacy, comfort, respect and transparency for the patient and family. For example, we were given a flyer telling us how we should expect to be treated by all the hospital staff and were encouraged to report any violations of those standards. The CHOP staff in turn lived by every word of this working model, and it made a tremendous difference in comforting us through an otherwise very dramatic life event.” (His daughter is fully recovered.)

Impressed by this level of service not just during their daughter’s hospital stay, but before and after as well, Jim made the leap to business and thought, “Why not provide this same level of service to our customers?”

Jim continues, “We took this model as an analogy for our own approach to customer experience in our B-to-B world and demonstrated that the principles are the same when making people feel special and cared for, and that seemingly small added touches can make a meaningful difference in satisfaction and repeat business. For example, we run some forty-five training events a month and our focus had always been on producing the best events possible for our customers. Now, in addition to offering top quality sessions, we also include various pre- and post-event services, which are totally unexpected, but very much appreciated, by our customers.“

We are still early in this process,” he concludes, “But this analogy has helped to take the concept of ‘customer experience’ and make it real for our teams to help deliver against. And the results have shown up in our bottom-line. We have definitely seen an uptick in repeat enrollments, better feedback, and growing word-of-mouth recommendations for our events.”

Transform Your Business

  1. Develop your parallel thinking muscle. In everyday living, notice similarities in seemingly dissimilar things. For example, how is waiting on line in the supermarket like being nominated for an Oscar? Or, how is the deadlock in Washington like badly behaved children?

  2. Seek solutions outside your industry. When faced with a process, people, resources, service, or systems problem, deliberately look at how these issues are handled in other industries and organizations. Then, adapt their solutions to your situation.

At the end of the day, that’s what Jim did. He noticed how really good it felt to be treated with KIDS CARE, made the leap to thinking that approach could be adapted to his business, and enjoyed a large pay-off by adapting that idea to align the company’s businesses towards a common customer experience.

Make What You Say Pay — With Metaphors.
Anne Miller

I Declare March to be Metaphor Month
In like a lion, out like a lamb.
(Yes, strictly speaking those are similes, but you know what I mean)

For more information on language that connects with people in business as well
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 "The Metaphor Minute" is a brief monthly note with examples from business, media, or politics that illustrate the power of metaphors and analogies to make a point, solve a problem, and get results. Use these stories to stimulate high pay-off metaphoric thinking in your business. © 2013. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2013, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"
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