Beat Your Rivals with Surprising Service
McDonald’s? Creating memorable customer service experiences? That’s right. Ken Blanchard, author of Raving Fans, likes to cite the example of a McDonald’s that puts out tablecloths and candles between 4 and 6 p.m. for its elderly customers, and brings the food to their tables, too. That location significantly outperforms competitors during that time period. One cool thing about this anecdote? It shows how even businesses tied to massive multinational companies can innovate and serve their local clientele. If McDonald’s can do it, you certainly can.
Charge for Monitor Time
A lot of you with video monitors in your store know the value of playing videos produced by manufacturers to provide in-depth information on subjects like nutritional information about pet food. One other use for them? Paid advertisements from complementary businesses. Frank Frattini of The Hungry Puppy in Farmingdale, NJ, actually sells spots on the monitor behind his cash register to select businesses, like a local groomer or boarding facility — only one business from each category, so as not to confuse people. It provides a service to customers and brings in a bit of extra revenue. Win-win.
Streamline Services, Disney-Style
If you go to Disney World on a slower day versus a busier day, you get a subtly different experience. Rides are generally shorter on the bustling days, with some of the animatronic frills left out in order to serve more customers. A ride that’s 30 seconds shorter can cut wait times and guest frustrations. The lesson? If you can provide every client with over-the-top service, do it. But if you can’t, institute a busy-day procedure that has one or two special touches that will still allow your business to stand out.
Take a Shower First
Author Norm Brodsky is a businessman who likes to take risks. But after a series of poor decisions bankrupted one of his companies, he made up a series of rules to cut down on poor decisions. One you might consider stealing: Brodsky vowed he would never make an important decision without first taking a shower. It gives him a much-needed “cooling off” period, both literally and figuratively.
Pick an Indicator
Setting goals for this year? Don’t just pluck a dollar figure out of the air and call it your goal. Instead, pick a “forward indicator.” Examples: the number of add-on sales your staff makes, the number of customer profiles you add to your database, the amount of money spent on advertising — anything that past experience shows will lead to increased revenue.
Show Your Passions
Here’s a great nametag idea from author Scott Ginsberg — “that guy with the nametag.” He tells of a hotel in Cleveland, home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in which every staffer wears a tag with his name and the name of his favorite musical artist. In a pet setting, we could easily see staff’s pets’ names on those tags.
To Learn, Do
If you’re not doing most of your learning by doing, you’re probably not learning much. So says Peter Sims, author of Little Bets. It’s also the view of most entrepreneurs. Business progress comes from experimenting, taking chances, giving little things a try.
Door as Body Language
An open-door office policy sounds like a great management idea until things get busy. Inc.com cited the case of one manager who found success with a modified open-door policy: An open door means come in. A partially open door means you’re busy, but enter if it’s important. And a closed door means you’re about to explode; enter only if it’s an emergency.
This article originally appeared in the May 2018 edition of PETS+.