World Class Customer Service; John Spearry on Gnat Tenacity

“We live in Greater Cleveland, we work in Greater Cleveland, now we are working on making Cleveland even greater!” was the beginning of a recent marketing campaign for Metro Lexus. Well, after having the privilege of participating on the panel of judges for this year’s WCCS Awards, you can rest assured that the business community around Northeast Ohio is striving daily to raise the bar and establish new standards of what it means to be “world-class.”

Before I share with you what emerged for me as the common thread that runs through the fabric of the DNA of each of these inspiring organizations, I must first ask you to take a deep breath and try to pull yourself away from your desk and into one of those meditative states of mind. Summer is here, the birds are chirping, and you just finished mowing the lawn. It’s a perfect 85-degree Cleveland day and you have decided to reward yourself with a cold beverage and reflect on life. It has become a perfect “sit on the deck” moment” that we all cherish so much. Unfortunately, the buzzing of a little gnat gets into your ear, annoys you and effectively kills the mood. Your obsession soon becomes squashing the gnat. But regardless of the enormous size disadvantage for the gnat, it keeps coming at you — relentless and fearless. It is willing to continue its pursuit until you either go inside or it ends up on the wrong side of yesterday’s newspaper.

This tenacity, gnat tenacity, for customer service and customer experience resounded through the presentations. It left me both inspired and reminded of what sustains and evolves the great companies — a tenacious commitment to world-class excellence and customer service. As I challenged myself to find new ways to inspire that type of culture within my own organization, I realized that, in many cases, it was already happening. If we recognize those who already have this special approach and allow them the flexibility to make the right decisions for the customer, it will ultimately result in a contagious culture of customer service. Do you just want good customer service within your organization, or are you willing to take on the sometimes seemingly insurmountable challenges that come along with being the best? You may have a competitor that is tenacious and passionate about being the best.

John Spearry is the general manager of Metro Lexus. Reach him at [email protected] or visit