Monthly archive

As I write this on the Tenth Anniversary of the 9/11 tragedies, it seems impossible not to feel patriotic. How sad is it that most of us are moved to feel this way only when reminded of one horrific Tuesday morning. Why can’t we show the unity and patriotism that was exhibited in the days and weeks after the crashes on a typical Tuesday?

Common thought is that as much as 80% of initial impressions are formed by non-verbal communications. With this thought in mind, I am constantly amazed by how many sales personnel make their chances of success needlessly compromised. Poor grooming, soiled or ill-fitting clothing, less than fresh breath, facial hair and cheap cologne are but a few of the turnoffs that customers judge us by before we ever open our mouths.

For years we have believed that the written word typically takes priority over the spoken word. It was presumed that published information had been subjected to some form of review and editing process. I am beginning to doubt the validity of this premise today.

While viewing the CNBC program “Titans” featuring Southwest Airlines Chairman Emeritus Herb Kelleher recently, I heard a quote that should be adopted as a mission statement for all service based businesses. He stated “Think small and act small and we will get bigger. Think big and act big and we will get smaller.”
Wow! Think of all the “little things” that every member of your staff can do which individually may not seem to have much measure, but when done collectively can move the ball downfield at a greater pace.

I had my batteries recharged in Kansas City last week. No, not the electrical kind, but rather the internal batteries that keep you moving and motivated. This phenomenon occurred while attending the annual CFI Convention.

Recently I was in a self-checkout lane at a Kroger’s store while an attendant literally stood and watched me. The signage above the machines stated “for your convenience”. What am I missing here? It’s more convenient for me to be observed than it is to be assisted? Since when? The only way that a scanning machine provides a better customer experience for me is by letting me bypass a poorly trained cashier with a bad attitude. That’s it!

My wife and I recently spent a week taking a 1300 mile odyssey touring on vacation. Driving this amount of distance we passed a great number of flooring stores. Several days into our trip, I asked over lunch what stores she had seen that impressed her. The sad reality is that she could only remember two or three in any detail.  After a while, I asked her what her general impression was in one word. That word was: BORING!

When opening my mail this morning, I received a reminder that is worth sharing. I received a hand written note of appreciation from an acquaintance. It was 41 words on a 4 x6 inch card. It likely took one minute to write and cost 44 cents to mail. Not much time and not much money – yet it meant a great deal to me.

The news from the auto industry in Detroit is better lately. While there are a myriad of factors accounting for this reversal of fortune, I think that there is one resounding lesson that flooring dealers can learn from: duplicity and product sameness are both costly and confusing.
Look at the brand reduction that has taken place in the past few years. Does anyone really miss Plymouth? How about Mercury? Do you know anyone that is now without an automobile since they discontinued Oldsmobile? Of course you don’t. The Buick that they likely replaced it with is quite similar anyway.

Keeping customer care as the core of your business

I believe two basic truths about improving the experiences that our customers have when shopping our stores. First, before you can be a good customer care provider, you must first learn to be an aware customer service receiver. And secondly, we mostly learn from observing other industries. We typically know what’s going on in our world. How do we grow from what we already know?