Stealing Radical Hospitality from the Atlanta Mission (a homeless shelter)

This summer, as we prepared to launch V2 of our platform to the world, we spent a bit of time on our values again.  I was lucky enough that Heather Clarson is my cousin- in addition to an incredible career at Coca-Cola, she now leads development at the Atlanta Mission, a homeless shelter.  She took me through their values, and how they penetrate every aspect of their brand.

One of their core values is Radical Hospitality.  If you think about the challenges of just providing basic hospitality at a homeless shelter, it becomes immediately obvious how challenging  Radical Hospital is.  How that sets the mission apart.  How it informs every decision made in the care and comfort of their guests.

So, of course, I stole the concept.  For our team members, in recruiting and management, radical hospitality isn’t a differentiation here in Seattle (or most places) .  Pretty much derigguerre to have a great process of on-boarding, integration, management.

However, in B2B sales and customer support, any kind of hospitality is BROKEN.  In speaking with institutional investors, talking about offering phone support to customers was met with intense pushback.  “Clearly you don’t understand unit economics.”

Let’s talk about how despicable the b2b buying experience is today -it is the opposite of hospitality.  It is where Sales Process has been prioritized over the customer’s experience in every step of the transaction.

Or training.  If my product is so confusing, or so robust, that my customers benefit from training, then I’m sure as hell not going to make training a profit center.  I’m going to invite them in.

It feels like some sort of inspiration here in the Pacific Northwest – living up to the famous customer support provided by Nordstrom and Costco.  I look forward to proving that we can support and engage customers on their terms (and understand unit economics).