I’ve always been amazed with corporate cultures. Working for one company, you might find that their culture and mission is structured around service, while another company focuses more on the quality of a product. Living in America, one can just say a company’s name and certain ideas (usually about the culture and atmosphere) come to mind. Ones that come to my mind are FORD for tradition, Nordstrom for customer service, and Wal-Mart for low prices. Some companies even define themselves in their slogans. NIKE proclaims to “Just Do It”, Subway informs us to “Eat Fresh”, and The Home Depot encourages “You can do it, We can help”.
This got me thinking about the culture of the AAA. Do the majority of our employees enjoy and have pride in the work they do everyday? Do our customers automatically pick up the phone and dial us first-knowing that they will get good service? Do lawyers and judges recommend us? Does Forbes magazine want to do a report on us for one of the “Best Companies to Work for in America”?
In my opinion, and because I work for AAA, I want all of the above questions to be answered with a definite “Yes”. I want college students to study us in business school, and knock on our doors for a summer internship. I want magazines to interview us because we are innovative and rise above the competition. I want the benefits, pay, and moral of the company to be at an all-time high.
In the below memo, I tell a story that prompted me thinking on culture, and then I propose an idea that can take us into the future and have everybody looking to our company as an American business leader.
The Digital Doctor
A couple of months ago, I wasn’t feeling well. It was the weekend and unfortunately a Sunday; therefore, my doctor’s offices were closed. Luckily, I live near an emergency care place that takes my insurance, so I decided to go. Once I got there, I noticed something different. Usually, in doctors’ offices one notices filing cabinets and many receptionists. It is generally a busy place to work and sometimes a little stuffy and crowded out in the waiting area. This place had a television and loads of space and I got a laid-back kind of vibe from it all. Also, I noticed that there were not any files to be seen.
After I had signed in, the doctor took me back to his office where they started a digital file on me. He took my picture from a web-cam and asked the general doctor questions, only he entered them into a computer. Even the agreement was on the computer and I made a digital signature that immediately showed up on the computer screen. There was one screen he was entering information on, and another screen in front of me that showed me what he was doing. After all of this, he took my blood pressure and asked me to breath. This was entered into the computer as well.
After the doctor examined me and wrote me a prescription, we went back out to the receptionist’s desk and he printed out a receipt for the service he had provided. Behind the desk were simply a phone/computer and a printer/fax/scanner machine. No filing cabinets. I was amazed by the process and asked him about the filing system. He explained to me that he works in a very small space and has no room for physically storing hundreds of patient files; therefore, he has a Microsoft based program that does everything for him. All he has to do is enter it in and save it, and you are good to go.
I thought to myself, is this the doctors’ office of the future? Can this be the future of business; could this be the future of AAA?
Truthfully, AAA is gaining ground on the cutting-edge. With marketing tools like our new website and customer programs like Webfile and Cybersettle we are staying a step ahead of the game. To the outside world, we continue and I hope we will always continue to be viewed as a leader in ADR. I want to challenge the company to always look ahead for our users’ sake, but to also look ahead for the great employees of the AAA as well. Having the latest technology that is fast and efficient in every regional office and in every case management center is important. Designing the workplace of the future in every office with a competitive salary and a knowledgeable staff is what will make great people stay and will attract new employees to our offices. With new technologies being offered for the customer, it is my main challenge to develop the same for the AAAs great employees.
The digital revolution is now taking off. CD sales are at an all-time low, while digital sales from companies like I-Tunes, Burnlounge, and Amazon are at an all-time high. The music and entertainment industry is realizing this new technology change. Even my Doctor sees it. In order for this company to survive, it must always be an innovator, a leader. It must never rest for its people, mission and customers.
Today, dream up your AAA idea and ask yourself what the future of the American Arbitration Association is.