There is a post on the Business Insider about a young man hired by Virgin Group and what he learned from Sir Richard Branson. I especially like the customer service points. There are so many people who are customer facing in one way or another who continue to view customers as an interruption rather than as an opportunity to serve. I have just included a couple of highlights. Check out the entire article.
When Alexis Dormandy was hired by Virgin Group at age 24, he got to work directly with Sir Richard Branson himself. By age 26, he was running Virgin Mobile, and all of Virgin’s new businesses at 28.
“I would describe the experience as, if you learn a lot by making mistakes, then I probably learned quite a lot!” says Dormandy, who secured a board seat by age 29. “But it was an incredible opportunity. I absolutely loved it, without reservation.”
Now Dormandy is the founder and CEO of a startup called LoveThis, a social recommendation curation platform.
We asked Dormandy what it was like to work for Branson, and he shared with us the best lessons he learned.
Set ridiculously high expectations.
Dormandy says Branson’s expectations for himself, his company, and his employees were very high, and that this is the way to go.
“There’s nothing more likely to get him interested in doing something than to be told it couldn’t be done. If you were to meet with someone who said, ‘Oh, that can’t be done,’ you’d probably say, ‘Okay, I won’t do it then,’” says Dormandy. “Richard would say that you wouldn’t succeed in business then. If your nature is such that if somebody says it can’t be done, and you say, ‘Excellent. If I can find a way of doing that, then we’ll make lots of money,’ then you will succeed in an entrepreneurial environment.”
Trust your employees.
Dormandy says that Branson ran his business on trust — trust in the people that he hired to do their jobs, and do them well.
Your product must be the best on the market.
“You’ve got to have the best product in the market to even be admitted to it,” says Dormandy. And to Branson, he tells us, the product was everything.
Reputation is everything.
Branson knew that when you’re running a company, the reputation of your brand is of the utmost importance, but so is your personal reputation.
You need to have a stellar attitude.
One of the things Dormandy noticed while working for Virgin was that the company had an “incredibly good attitude about things,” especially about the way the customer should be treated.
“The customer is focused on with a level of detail you wouldn’t believe,” Dormandy says. “[Richard] cared about the customer experience. And if he does, then everybody else does.”
The corporate attitude was also second to none, Dormandy says. People were engaged in their jobs, and excited to be working for Virgin. He says they “breathe the culture,” in that they are “trying to do something that nobody else has done, and helping people; it’s about the attitude of everyone there, and so you feel you’re sort of on this mission for the future, to produce something, which is very motivating.”