Time for a field trip

Posted on by in Editorial Musings

We can learn a lot when we get out of the office. There’s a whole world out there to explore—or so we tell out clients. But, how often do you get out to explore? I am not talking about to some far-flung destination or the most recent FAM trip. When was the last time you took a field trip in your own town?

Let’s face it; first and foremost, we are in a service industry and if our service is off, we will lose. Granted, in today’s environment, the bar is not set terribly high and it does not take a lot to offer good service. It still amazes me that Comcast has yet to figure that out—but I digress!

While there is much to be learned from personal travels and FAM trips, have you taken the time to look at how others in the service industry are faring in your own market? You may be the only game in town for travel, but how would you also like to be known as the only game in town for service?

I took a look at my local community and created a list of some of the places that are doing it right.

  • A local hot-spot restaurant. They are active on social media (Twitter in particular) and if I am looking to dine there with my family, I will tweet them asking about the wait. They will reply and offer to put my name on the list; but often will direct message me and tell me to ask for someone when I arrive and they will immediately seat me.
  • The gas station down the road is not the cheapest. They offer a discounted automatic car wash with a fill up and I often take advantage of it. Their point of difference is that they hire a local youth to wipe the drops that never go away from the automatic blower.
  • My mechanic is old school. There is not a computer to be found in his shop. His work is fair and thorough. I have given him a decent amount of business over the years and referred a bunch to him as well. Recently I went in with a leaky tire looking for a plug. Thirty minutes later the hole was found, the tire was plugged, and I was on my way—without an invoice.

If I had to guess, my annual spend with the three businesses is about $4000—not chump change. I can eat anywhere—for a lot less. But, I eat there at least once a month. I can buy gas almost anywhere, but I appreciate the little extra the owner provides me ten or twelve times a year. As for my mechanic—toss in honesty, quality work, and appreciation for my business and it is a winner in my book. And the amazing thing is that these “perks” are all accomplished for little to no cost.

Take a look around your town. Who is doing it right? Who have you heard is doing it right? Visit them. Watch them. See if there is anything you might be able to incorporate in your own business. Then take a look at your business as an outsider. Seek out the opportunities, and seize them!

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