Why I paid more for my hammer
Have you ever passed by one store that was close to you or more convenient and go out of your way to purchase the same item at a store further away and less convenient? I find myself doing it all the time now as my tolerance for poor service is in its death throws. I guess this is just one of the ways that I am combating the insidious decline in customer service… TAKING MY MONEY ELSWHERE.
During my last effort at home improvement I needed a new hammer as I had misplaced the old one. So off the the LOCAL hardware store I went, which is about 15 miles from the house and right past one of those big box home improvement center (not Home Depot, the other one). Yep that other center is only about 3 miles from the house and I happily zoomed past it. Why?
Yes they were closer, but that did not matter. Yes they had better, more convenient parking, but that did not sway me from my mission. You see, their service absolutely SUCKS. They have a greeter at the front door who does NOT do his job title, not once have they greeted me or the people I walked in the store with. Most of the employees are clueless (read that as UNTRAINED) and could not find the hammer if it was in their sightline.
This is the same store where I had my first of many wordless transactions. The cashiers, with great frequency, would not speak unless spoken to. During my unscientific test, the cashier would not say one word to me unless I said something first 6 out of 9 times. No “good morning”, no “did you find everything?”, nuthin, zip, nada.
Don’t get me wrong, they TRY to provide a few little extras, like cold stale coffee for contractors. But the execution of these little extras falls woefully flat.
But I drive right past this place and try to find parking on the street by the local hardware store. Instead of the free parking, I have to feed a meter with a quarter and walk two blocks. Not convenient, but a small price to pay for the service and treatment I will soon experience.
Now compare this to my LOCALLY owned hardware store. When you walk it the first thing that gets your attention is the aroma of fresh brewed coffee. Two cashiers who say “good morning” almost in unison and offer me a cup of fresh coffee. They are hanging out with a few other customers at the counter. If there weren’t tools everywhere, you would think they were hanging in Starbucks. One of them then ask if I caught the game last night. “Yep” I answer, “our Easton Warriors crushed the Queen Anne Lions” (we are talking local football, not NFL).
While they don’t know my name (hey this is not Cheers), they do recognize me as a past customer. “What can we help you with today?”, one asks. I explain my project and let them know I need a hammer and some special nails. “Right this way” and begins to walk me over to the tool aisle. He did not point to an aisle or just give me directions, he walked me to the hammers. I of course notice the prices, and I know that they are about 20% higher than the big box store. But I do not say a word. I am getting exactly what I am paying for.
He walks me back to the register and asks if I need anything else and I say I don’t. After the transaction is complete and the register drawer is closed, he asks where I parked. After I tell him he pulls out an old coffee can with the words “PARKING QUARTERS” written on the side. He pulls out TWO quarters and says “One for today and one for the next time”. WOW! I was blown away!
I leave happier than when I arrived.
So… what’s my hammer have to do with your business? Everything!!!
My local hardware store is the Disney of hammer sellers. They get it right on so many levels. You would think they were my clients or read my report Systematic Magic. But they have been long at this level of service since well before I was born.
First, they have the WOW factor down. Fresh coffee and an aggressively friendly greeting (Disney speak for how their cast members should behave) from two of the employees. Not the owners, but the employees. Here are two HUGE points for you to implement in your business. What can you do to WOW your clients? It can be as simple as offering a cup of coffee. And are you training your employees to be “aggressively friendly”? Not over bearing, but genuine, caring and helpful?
True to Disney form, the employee WALKED me TO the hammers, not merely pointing down a long aisle. Do your employees merely point, gesture or grunt to your hard earned clients?
Truer to Disney form are the prices. Everyone know that a rubber ball at Disney is going to be at least 10x more expensive than the same ball at Wal-Mart. Sure their hammer was about 20% more, but I was already immersed in an experience where price was almost irrelevant.
Now TRUEST to Disney form was the quarter jar that they implemented for parking. They had not done this in the past, but they recognized that this was an area where their competitor had an edge. They “PLUSED” (Disney term for improvement) their experience with the SIMPLE and COST EFFECTIVE solution of handing out quarters. They did not need a mangers approval, they had the authority to take care of their customers. This will certainly NOT break their bank and will probably earn them many customers for life.
What small, incremental improvements can you make in your business to PLUS your show?
For more on Disney Style Service and small business marketing, check out my free special report “Systematic MAGIC, How to Disnify Any Business”. Vance Morris is a Walt Disney World Resort Management Alumni, having spent 10 years as an executive in the Resorts. He runs the only Disney Service & Direct Response Marketing business on the planet. Here he coaches companies to create Disney Style Service Systems and then monetize them through direct response marketing. He is also the GKIC 2015 Marketer of the Year. He can be reached at www.DeliverServiceNow.comor firstname.lastname@example.org .