it just takes one to start a trend

It just takes one to start a trend

Over the course of a few weeks, neighbor after neighbor started power washing then sealing their driveways. Each driveway took days to complete the multi-step process. Clearly each homeowner thought the effort was worth it because one after another the process started anew.

That’s the thing about trends. It just takes one person to start. And when others see or hear about it and think it is a good idea, they follow. The challenge in making sure people see the benefit to them. Once they do, they’ll join in.

when was the last time you experienced that?

When was the last time you experienced that?

Every now and then, tile showers need to be sealed and have grout issues addressed. It’s that time. That meant showering in my guest bath. Instead of the roomy, tiled shower with glass doors, the guest bath is the standard fiberglass tub/shower with a shower curtain that blows into you. Yikes! What a different experience. And one I had forgotten because it had been so long.

Leadership can be the same way. We forget how tedious doing some jobs can be. Or how the experience with customers and co-workers changes along the way. It’s worth periodically going back to that experience to understand what people across the organization experience every day.

Showing up

Showing up

When I first moved to my new house, a newspaper showed up once a week. I was so busy at the time, I never opened it. A decade later, the paper was still showing up and I finally got a chance to open it and read it. What a delight. It highlights life and activities in town, has serious coverage of business and governmental affairs, and a robust dialogue in the letters to the editor section. And it is funded entirely by donations and ads. Every week it shows up and offers value.

There’s something to be said for showing up. People are busy or distracted and it might take a bit to get noticed. But it will happen if you keep showing up.


Strategic Positioning

My dog has an uncanny knack for finding the absolute best spot to see everything. In the backyard, she’s found a spot where she can see the front, the entire backyard, the door to the house as well as the park behind because she is on the high ground. She’s strategically positioned.

Astute people in business do the same. They position the business in a place where they can see customers, competitors and the market. And customers see them. They strategically position.

Are you strategically positioned? When was the last time you checked your view?

picture this!

What do you see?

A long time store announced it was closing. The owner just needs a break to recharge and come back with a different focus. So, a few friends and I went to have a glass of champagne on the patio. And while we were sitting there enjoying the day, a non-stop line of people bought pastries, deserts, chocolates, cheese and a variety of other items from the vending machine. For the people sitting on the patio with champagne, it was a champagne bar. But for people at the vending machines, it was a high end pastry and tapas shop.

That’s the thing about business. Depending upon what you do, some customers may view you entirely differently than others.

do you know what is going on when you are not around?

The importance of people in the background

As I rounded the corner of the trail, a coyote pup was standing at the railing of a horse farm. We stood there staring at each other for a few minutes and I wondered where its mom was. She never appeared, but surely she was there watching over her pup.

In business, we have lots of things that are out of sight, but keep us safe and focused. There are people who keep systems secure through cybersecurity. Or keep buildings clean and maintained. Or those that keep the roads safe and in working order. And people who make sure others get paid. And many others who are in the background, watching to make sure everything stays on track.

building and changing directions

Building and changing directions

The county has started developing a community park. The plot of land had a house and a barn. To my surprise, it only took a day to completely demolish the house and another day to remove the slab and haul away the debris. In contrast, right next to what will be the park, a house is being built. Based on the pace, it will probably be at least two months to complete.

Two months to build. Two days to remove.

There is nothing like physically watching things being built and torn down to remind us of how long it takes to create something new. And how fast a decision to change direction can happen.

right people in right place

Experience makes all the difference

The home improvement store was fantastic when it first started. People that worked there knew all of the projects people work on and could help you with all of the tools and tips you’d need. Then eventually, those experienced people left and were replaced with people who knew where stock was located, but that’s it. So, I was delighted on a recent visit when an employee walked up and asked me if he could help. I explained what I was doing and he gave me several tips I hadn’t even considered. Then grabbed another product for me that I needed. I walked away delighted. And with everything I needed.

Experience in any business makes a huge difference in how well problems get solved. And it makes a big difference in customer service when people come with problems they are looking for the business to solve.

How are you thinking about experience when you hire?

do you really need to tell people what to do with avocados?

Do you really need to tell people what to do with an avocado?

When the local grocery store was purchased, their ads changed. Historically, pictures of the product and the sale price were listed. Just the facts. Now, the use or medicinal properties are shared. Oranges are touted as being a good source of vitamin C.  Avocados are great for spreading on toast. But most shoppers already know that.

People look for unique perspectives or the specific information they are looking for. They don’t want to hear what they already know. And that’s the challenge for businesses. Providing useful or thought provoking information.

what is your customer experience?

Amazing customer service at the local high school

One of the local high schools recently held a plant sale. The kids learned how to grow plants from seed and sold the starts as a fundraiser. Upon arriving, I was greeted by one of the students who escorted me through the greenhouse. He showed me where each item I was looking for was located, put my selections in a box, escorted me to the check out, then put the plants in my car. The service was fantastic! I was so impressed, I shared the experience with family and friends.

Creating raving fans is easy to do. And it starts with amazing customer service.

How are you creating amazing customer service in your business?