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When Steve Job's was being interviewed by the author of his biography, Steve was asked about how Apple decides which new products to put into production. The interviewer asked if he used customer feedback to determine what's next. In pure Steve Job's style, he replied, "You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new."
While I am certainly not comparing Mid-State to Apple, there are certain "truths" that apply to all business's if they hope to be relevant and prosperous over the long haul. I believe the Steve Jobs quote represents one of those truths. Innovation, creativity and customer expectations are not destinations; they are never ending requirements for sustained success.
A few months ago, Mid-State began redefining how we do business. We are moving toward a business model which will allow the majority of our people's time to be spent on "pro-active servicing" rather than "reactive servicing". Reactive servicing occurs when a customer contacts us with a servicing need - a claim, a question, a need for a new policy and so on. Mid-State receives the request and we complete the task -- reactive.
"Pro-active servicing" places a priority on initiating contact with customers on an ongoing basis. By getting to know our customers better and cultivating the relationship we have, it will allow us to better anticipate their needs. We will be able to make more informed coverage recommendations and even identify areas where we may be able to save clients money.
There is a line from Mid-State's Mission Statement which reads, "...in every situation we are dedicated to exceeding expectations." Not just meeting expectations, exceeding them, because by the time customers have their expectations met, they'll want something new...sound familiar?