I know, another Superbowl analogy. Hang with me for just one minute, you’ll see.
As I was digesting the aftermath of the blowout, as well as a few dozen hot wings, I found myself wondering who the Most Valuable Player would be. I’m sure that I was not the only person in the country wondering the same thing. You would think after such a butt-whooping, one name would stand out. But not this time. This got me thinking that this was one of the best examples of teamwork that I had seen in professional sports in quite some time. This game was over at halftime. Seattle dominated.
As a dealer or manager, wouldn’t it be great to dominate your competition in this fashion without being able to point to only one or two of your employees? Each of them just did their job well, understanding the overall goal. No primadonnas, just a well-trained, inspired group of people destined for greatness. With this kind of team effort, if one teammate gets injured, you just plug in another. Your future does not hinge on one Payton Manning.
Maybe the MVP was the coach. Maybe it’s you?
Hopefully this will remind me to treat all of my employees equally. Your only as strong as your weakest link.
Here’s to strong links and championships.
Who’d your Danny?
Turn a Mistake into a Masterpiece
In today’s marketplace, I submit that it is no longer acceptable to merely satisfy our customers and employees. That statement is not ground-breaking, we’ve all heard it. In most cases, providing what I call “Ridiculous” Service does not come naturally. As a matter of fact, it’s quite un-natural. We create habits even when it comes to serving. If we are going to blow our customer’s faces off, we have to stop and think. We have to first identify what it takes to satisfy them, and then we need to seek a way to go further. We have to say. “In addition to ___, would you allow me to ___?” Customers understand that it is not a matter of ‘if’ you blow it, they just want to know that ‘when’ you do, you are going to respond in a big way. Our mistakes need to be viewed as opportunities to rescue and delight our customers. When you do this, don’t keep it a secret. Shout it from the mountaintops! THIS is what keeps them coming back and becoming an advocate for your business.
We have to learn how to neutralize negative experiences by responding quickly and with some creativity. The image that I have attached to this article is an example of how an absolute bonehead move turned into a great story. We left off $1500 worth of incentives on a customer’s paperwork. When the error was detected, we had a decision to make. First, I guess we could have just kept quiet. When I have to resort to this kind of thievery to get by, I’ll fire myself, grow a long beard and play my ukulele on the street corner. Secondly, we could have dropped the check in the mail with a sticky note that read “oops”. Instead, we decided to proclaim our greatness. How would I feel if I unexpectedly received $1500 in the mail exactly one month before Christmas? Let’s turn this financial faux pas into a marketing masterpiece. Make no mistake, I have no doubt that anyone reading this would return money that belongs to the customer. The difference is HOW we returned it. Did you notice the playful language of the letter? When did we stop having fun at work? We do these types of fun things on ANY situation in which we owe customers money. Do you want to blow someone’s mind? Send them $125 explaining that you were able to secure a little extra on their trade in from last month. Try to buy that kind of advertising for $125. I dare you. The point here is that we seek out an opportunities to set ourselves apart.
The budget on this marketing campaign was whatever the letterhead, envelope, and stamp cost. Under a buck, I suppose. Oh yeah, about two minutes of my precious time.
If you’ll notice, I grabbed a really old letterhead that still had the Pontiac logo on it. See, when your heart in is the right place, little mistakes don’t matter that much.
Who’s your Danny?
One of my favorite places to eat is the neighborhood Furr’s Cafeteria. Oddly enough, it’s not the food that attracts me to this eerie establishment. I love to watch people. It’s not a hobby, it’s an obsession. Furr’s cafeteria is a virtual crack house for people-watchers like me. Before I go on, please know this. I love old people. I actually hope to be an old person, myself, some day. When that day comes, feel free to make fun of me. I won’t care, because I guarantee you’ll find me and my Jazzy Chair at Furr’s enjoying a slice of Millionaire Pie.
You have to get there early. I mean really early. I have a philosophy on why the elderly do EVERYTHING earlier as they age. It has to do with how high they wear their pants. At seventy years of age, or so, the pants are hiked up around the bellybutton. At this time, the senior starts waking up at 5 am, eating lunch at 11 am, dinner (now referred to as supper) at 4:45, and off to bed at 8:30. Eighty-something gentlemen wear their pants 4-5 inches above the navel and the time shift happens yet again. Up at 4, lunch at 10:15, supper at 3:30, nighty-night at 7. Back to my original point…get there early.
Tip #1: Get a table that has an unobstructed view of as much of the buffet line as possible. If you are with a friend, race inside, even if you have to sit on the same side of the table. It will be worth it.
Tip #2: Take a moment and appreciate the Muzak playing. It is the worst of the worst. If it is a satellite channel, then it’s called “Doo-Doo Music from 1977-1989 Channel”. The last time I was there I heard this back-to-back-to-back triple play. “Dog Gone Girl is Mine” Micheal Jackson/Paul McCartney, “Heartbeat” Don (Miami Vice) Johnson, and “She’s Like the Wind” Patrick Swayze. I can’t believe I made it out alive.
Now it’s time to keep score. I have devised a Furr’s scoring system based on the frequency in which you will see the following things during your visit. Print this out and score your next trip…
- Coveralls/Onesies/Jumpsuits – These will usually be light blue or pale yellow. There will be an embroidered anchor on the chest and a weak attempt at a half-belt that serves absolutely no purpose outside of fashion. 3 points (1 bonus point if it is bright red, no undershirt, or if there is no anchor)
- Giant Sunglasses – I don’t mean regular sunglasses. I mean the ones to protect cataracts. They are roughly the size of a Buick windshield. You’ll first think they are welding something, don’t be alarmed. 3 points
- Walkers/Wheelchairs – Zero points. If you don’t see one of these, you’re at the wrong restaurant.
- Oxygen – This only counts if it is in use during the meal. 3 points (1 bonus point if the tank has to be changed before you are finished with your meal)
- Coin Purse – This must be used to pay for meal and may be one of two varieties. The leather, moccasin style, spiral engineered, coin purse. Or, the standard plastic, football shaped container with the slit that opens when you squeeze both ends. This one is usually red with a bail bond company advertisement on it. 5 points
- Bolo Tie – Nothing says “I’ve given up.” like a nice bolo tie. 6 points (2 bonus points if the brooch is turquoise.)
- Man Scarf – 100 Points
- Sport Coat in Specific Colors – Brownish orange, Mustard, Chocolate brown, Lime, or any material that looks like it spent time as upholstery on a seventies style couch. 2 points
- Rascal, Jazzy Chair, HoverRound – 1 point (1 additional point for every bumper sticker affixed to the scooter. 1 more point if it has a basket with a crossword puzzle book in it)
- Ambulance/Paramedic – In order for this to count, medical assistance has to be administered inside the restaurant. 10 points (-2 points if mouth-to-mouth is necessary. Nobody wants to see that. We are eating, you know.)
- Mutton Chops – These have to be larger than normal with NO attachment to a beard. 3 points
- Derby Hat – See Walkers/Wheelchairs.
- Huge Cap with 3/4 Mesh Trim – The front panel must be at least 5″ high. The hat must rest awkwardly atop the old fella’s head. 3 points (1 bonus point if it has something about being a veteran. 1 more bonus point if there is some kind of pin or pins are attached.)
- Bad Hairpiece – See Derby Hat, Wheelchair/Walker
- Female Facial Hair – Before you start, Sikhs don’t count. Must be visible from 20 feet. 2 points
- Ranch Dressing on Someone’s Shirt – First, make sure it’s Ranch, if it is, you win 2 points.
You’re not going to believe how many points you’re going to rack up.
All of this thinking has worn me out. It’s getting late and tomorrow is Fish Stick day.
Who’s Your Danny?