Greetings. It's Monday morning, and I'm sure that you've all returned to work with a new sense of curiosity and wonder. In fact, I can only imagine that you'll be starting the week by thinking about ways to deliver far more compelling value to the customers you serve. The giant pile of really important stuff in your in-box can definitely wait. Now is an ideal time to stretch your thinking about what it takes to exceed your customer's wildest expectations by creating the most remarkable product or service experience. One that is absolutely unbelievable. To do this, let's turn to a wonderful business called CDBaby, the world's largest online distributor of independent music.
By way of background, CDBaby started as a one-person company in a garage in Portland, Oregon, with the simple mission of helping talented musicians to find an audience for their music and be compensated fairly and quickly for the albums they sell. This idea was certainly a change from the way that most music was being sold, artists were being paid and new talent was being discovered. But it was an idea that really mattered. And, as they say, the rest is history. In roughly ten years of operation, the folks at CDBaby have:
- Sold 278,510 albums and 5,339,025 CDs online, and
- Paid $107,769,092 directly to the artists they sell
And they have accomplished this with creativity, humor and a passion for the artists and customers they serve. But to give you a sense of their business and to spark your own curiosity about what's possible in your company or organization, let me share the email correspondence I received with my very first purchase from CDBaby...
It began like this...
"Alan - Thanks for your order with CD Baby! This is just a happy automated email to let you know that a real person will email you as soon as your package is sent."
Then the next day...
"Alan - Thanks for your order with CD Baby! Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow."
"A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing."
"Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy."
"We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved 'Bon Voyage!' to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Friday, June 8th."
"I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as 'Customer of the Year.' We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!"
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
All that for a $20 purchase! Of course, I realize that these things didn't actually happen. But their upbeat and engaging note gave me a good laugh and a greater appreciation for our real potential to deliver compelling value.
We win in business when we imagine the most remarkable customer experience--an experience that captures the imagination of those we have the privilege to serve. Maybe it's time for you and the geniuses around you to let your imaginations take flight.
Cheers and have an almost unbelievable week ahead!