Attention to detail, big picture, small actions. How many times have you seen words spoken, and been awed at how they’ve empowered? Or similarly how they’ve caused havoc and hurt? Are your staff trained to manage words, tone, intention? Do they see people in and around your business premises as a delight to encounter, or a nuisance who get in the way of their tasks?
I pulled into the carpark to drop my daughter to her dance lesson, thinking how grateful I was there was somewhere to park. The shop to which the parking area belonged would be a good place to browse while I waited for the lesson to be over and see if I could find some new cushions for the chairs we had bought from them earlier this year. My girl ran ahead, and I parked carefully between two other vehicles, seeing a man leaning over the railing of the shop behind. I got out of the car, and headed first to make sure our offspring was in safe space. I had not even locked the car when the man’s voice drew my attention. “Are you here for dance lessons? Can you park somewhere else? Can you ask the other parents to park somewhere else too. It’s quite rude using our carpark.”
His words were not wrong. People can be so cheeky, and get away with as much as you let them. It was the tone, and the mostly empty carpark that drew my negative attention. Feeling like a naughty child, I shifted my car to the empty park on the street outside the shop, and pondered my response. I’m not buying my cushions in that shop. I’m not buying anything in that shop ever again! Childish? Maybe, and I have the good fortune to be surrounded with positive people on a daily basis, so it was a fairly shortlived response, as I considered that the shop owners pay rates for and have ownership of the carpark and they can do whatever they like with who parks there or not.
What struck me next was the short-term perspective of what difference this business ambassador could have made to my day, and in attracting me - and other customers - to use his facility, rather than turning me away. What other words that could have been used? Would you like to have a look around the store while your daughter is dancing? Were you planning to come in today? I looked bad, but I had good intentions, and there was no effort to explore them.
Then I looked at the opportunities that this business had to market to a whole people group. On the blank ugly wall, could they have advertising of the latest huge mirrors, which dancing girls would just love to have in their bedroom for practice? Were they marketing to the needs of potential customers whose children might need furniture for their bedroom? Had they considered a people group who would be a ready audience to their marketing messages week in and week out by allowing their use of the carpark? Even a notice tacked on the wall politely inviting dance parents to use the street carparks rather than the customers, would have been kind.
When Mike and I got married, we decided we would take our ten children on honeymoon to Samoa with us. After several attempts to get a travel agent to help us with finding something which would work for the large group and multiple needs, we found a wonderful travel firm in Christchurch. Nothing was too difficult for them. Their effort created a family memory and a bonding place which is a foundation everyone still remembers fondly and speak of years later. It was a challenging situation for the travel people to manage - but they made us feel valued all the way.
As a result, when we travel, we use them. And seven of our ten children are now adults, and any time they need travel, we recommend they use Steve. Two of them have already used them in going on overseas trips, we used them again when bringing out family from UK. The Christchurch based business wouldn’t have made much profit on that initial transaction with us, but the loyalty and repeat business which they get is multiplied. We refer them constantly and speak highly of them at every given opportunity.
What is your business doing that is spreading the flavour of your team to the public around you? What spills out of your team when a bit of pressure comes on? How can the actions you take be tweaked or honed to make a positive difference to all the people your staff encounter, and to create a lasting impression which makes people travel further, spend more and come back time and time again to you? Take the big picture into perspective as you’re dealing with the day to day tasks, and you will reap the benefits.
Here’s to your success!