Do you ever have a sign up to let people know something is not working properly in your business? Here are a few things to be concerned about.
- First is how long does it take for this issue to be fixed?
- Second is what is not working and how much do your customers need it – miss it?
- Third is what does this say about you and your business and how you think about your customers?
Let’s discuss the first item. A Fitness Center has restrooms within a thirty second stroll from the main workout area. The next set of rest rooms is out in a corridor and a few minute stroll. The rest rooms in the corridor are more spacious and those close by are fairly small. Needless to say, even though most people are afterall ‘working out’ the nearby restrooms get the most use from the people in the main workout area. They are told to keep hydrated and they comply. Which ultimately means they need to use the facilities.
People noticed there was a problem for a number of days. Then there was an odor. A really nasty odor. Eventually one day the sign appeared ‘Out Of Order’ right there in plain sight on one of the doors to the commodes. One day led to another day. Then another week went by. Then another week went by. People started to grumble.
Some patrons wrote interesting comments on the ‘Out Of Order’ sign. Finally one day the sign came down and all was well.
Or was it?
A number of people were incensed as they felt management did not care about them. Some were considering not renewing their membership or leaving as members for just cause. You might think this is an extreme reaction, the point is how you treat your customers is what matters to them in their minds not in your mind! This specific situation should have been handled promptly and the signage might have been crafted slightly better – adding some words such as – “We Are Very Sorry, The Plumber Has Been Arranged To Repair The Commode”.
An understanding of the second point would have gone a long way in this example. Clearly the management figured – “these are people working out, certainly they won’t mind strolling a few more minutes to the rest rooms in the corridor?” NOT!
The third point about what signal this sends to your customers. The most recent events on United Airlines clearly demonstrates how customers will react when they feel you and your business clearly behaves in a manner to signal that the customer really does not matter to you.
What to do with this information?
React quickly when something is in need of repair. In the example of the Fitness Center it turns out they were waiting for more items to break so they didn’t ‘waste’ money on a plumber for repairs on one item. Meanwhile a number of members left the club. Their membership dues and patronage flushed down the drain.
The investment in development and coaching might repair what is about to break. Sometimes what is in need of repair is in a culture – in a mindset – “well, these are the rules” or “this is how we have always done it before”. If this was true – really true – then Fly Those Friendly Skies – “Would you like a pillow and a blanket?”
Mitch Tublin runs a boutique consulting firm with a main focus on leadership development, executive coaching and business advisory services. Based in Stamford, CT they work with clients all over the globe.
Contact Mitch here to discuss how to change the culture in your organization – maybe even create a culture you want for the first time!