Updated: Feb 21, 2019
Mattress, Deli & Pharmaceutical worlds really NOT so different
(Speaking Topics for Corporate Events)
Being reliable… If a store owner posts opening hours at 10am, does he really need to open the doors at 10 sharp?
My son and I had arranged to buy a mattress for his NYU apartment. We called the day before to confirm they had a cheapo mattress and that they could put it aside for us… I asked what time the store opened the next morning - he responded with 10 AM, plus the mattress would be waiting for us with a sticky note ready to go. Nice.
(I knew I had a noon meeting uptown but would have adequate time based on what the store owner had just promised…)
Next morning we got to the store 6 minutes early.
9:54 no big deal, I keep my eye on the storefront as I cross over 3rd Ave to get a cup of coffee at the Bagel Belly.
10:01 the store was still dark…hmmm, grabbed a gluten free “everything” bagel back across the street…
10:16 still no one there yet...
10:23 store still dark, and now we bang on the glass door just to make ourselves feel better.
10:29 fuming pretty bad, thinking about what I’m going to say to whoever finally opens that door.
10:32 still across the street, watching. I finish my coffee – damn, no free-refills at the Bagel Belly... now I’m really steamed!
10:35 hallelujah – lights are on and the doors finally open.
10:47 we’ve explained that we called ahead for a mattress, waited for them to grab one (no sticky-noted single waiting for us as promised), and are tapping our fingers while the “darn system boots up” so we can pay. (My son hand signals me with a disapproving look to stop waving my credit card round in the air)
10:52 i feel certain the manager will offer some type of discount, perhaps military or student, to ease the pain - but he replies ‘that’s the lowest price… but I guess I can give you the floor model’
10:58 we leave the store with the half-covered floor sample and carry it down 3rd Ave to our destination to the cheering hoots of passers-by.
Customer satisfaction rating: FAIL
I learned something about reliability from my brother Ed 25 years ago…
He owned a Deli/Pizza place in Amish country PA, & people in the community came to rely on Ed’s morning coffee at 6am. Think no one cares on a random Tuesday if he actually opened at 6 sharp? So what’s a few extra minutes if he opened at 6:17 instead...? Indeed there would be people there relying on him for their cuppa coffee and bearclaw.
“I was in at 4:45am and opened the deli at 5:30am every day ......working folks in the area were off to work early and really liked that they could grab breakfast, a gallon of milk, perhaps even lunch for later, on their way to work or the farm. Sure, they could have gone to the chain stores just as easily, but liked that as the owner I was always there for them.
Being there every day made us part of the community, not just a vendor.
After a few months we would welcome the local community elders in for coffee and a bear claw around 10:30am.....it was their way of letting us know we were accepted...."
25 years later, Ed is a Regional Business Director at Mallinckrodt Pharma and he still shares with his direct reports,
“Reliability is critical in any business. In our industry, I find my team’s keys to success are much the same as back at that deli.
Be there for your customer, provide a solid value and do it genuinely.
If you’re credible and offer real import, people will happily do business with you - you are who they are looking for...”
..stay tuned for Learning from the Experts that Work for You (especially when they're holding a rifle), coming up soon!
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