Have You Missed a BFO?

A number of years ago, I had the rare opportunity to deliver a keynote presentation in a beautiful resort hotel in Cancun. The CEO of the growing organization I spoke to insisted on introducing me himself to explain how we had met in Washington, D.C., and why he had invited me to speak to his staff.

During his brief introduction, he used a phrase that was obviously recognized by his entire team. He used the term BFO which I later learned was an acronym for “Blinding Flash of the Obvious.” Later in the evening, at my request during dinner, he defined the phrase for me as I had never heard it. Over the years I’ve heard a number of various definitions, but I’ve always preferred his straight-forward explanation.

“A BFO is something that is really very obvious. However, until you actually say it, see it and follow the logic of it … the inherent magic of it remains a buried treasure of potential for change.”

Here’s a perfect example: Walk into any bank or grocery store today and you’ll find a large number of high-tech, state-of-the-art check-out lanes fully equipped to service impatient customers navigating overflowing shopping carts. A further look will quickly reveal that BOTH registers are open and each have a very long line of disgruntled customers! Yes, of the 6 to 9 or more available registers, BOTH are open. It never fails! Regardless of the organization or the location … we find only two lanes open when many more are needed.

What’s the BFO? … OPEN LANE #3!

So obvious, so simple, so sad!

Every customer sees it! Why doesn’t the staff or management see it?

Over the years, I’ve heard dozens of reasons why those extra lanes aren’t open. However, I have yet to hear a single explanation that justifies the negative results which emerge in such a situation! I doubt if I will ever hear a suitable explanation to justify such a poor decision!

I’m certain you’ve experienced this aggravating frustration time and time again. You know how it feels. Now let me ask you a question: “What is YOUR Lane #3 scenario?” There’s a better than average chance that you have one … or more!

True … you may not have a register or a lane where you work. However, do you have a situation which causes the same anguish to those you serve? Maybe it’s:

  • the way you answer the phone (or don’t).
  • the difficulty in getting your customer in touch with the right person.
  • the complexity of forms, applications, etc.
  • packaging, shipping or handling challenges.
  • advertising and/or marketing concerns.

Adapt a battle cry of “OPEN LANE #3” and start searching for any BFOs you may have within your organization. Ask yourself what your customers may deem as frustrating as the need to “Open Lane #3.” Then take action to correct the situation. This should be an ongoing strategy in your quest to provide phenomenal customer service!

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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