Over the holidays, my wife and I drove from Charlotte to Raleigh to visit her family. What we encountered on our road trip was something that every traveler has to contend with – dirty bathrooms.
With full bladders, we chose a freeway exit which offered a choice of four different fuel stations. We picked the one that looked the most modern in hopes of discovering that rare, road-trip find: the gas station with a clean bathroom.
Walking into the station, we noticed that the owner had a sign crudely taped to the door that said restrooms were not for public use. Only “paying” customers could have access to the bathrooms.
Accepting this ‘must-buy-something-in-the-store’ condition, we walked in, used the filthy facilities (the women’s room neither had toilet paper nor soap), purchased a Starbucks Frappuccino and a very burnt tasting coffee and vowed to never return again.
I wish this gas station would hire me for a marketing consultation. I would transform this business to a level of success, once believed to be unimaginable. In fact, my client would change the way the competition does business just to remain competitive.
My input would result in lines queuing off the exit ramp as if there was a gas shortage.
How would I do this?
I would satisfy the pain point of travelers by providing a clean bathroom. Not just a clean bathroom, but AMAZINGLY clean bathrooms that are designed for high volume and easy maintenance. I would advertise these amazingly clean bathrooms to the masses, exclaiming to every traveler on the interstate of how clean they are. See photo below.
So what does this have to do with the skydiving industry? EVERYTHING
Few industries have as much bathroom traffic as the skydiving industry. Looking for your student on the 20 minute call? They’re in the bathroom! I’ve often said that you can tell how a business feels about its customers by looking at the bathroom. This is a point that must not be ignored, but there is a bigger message here.
This article is less about bathrooms and more about addressing the obvious points that DZO’s miss because of subjectivity. The time investment that a DZO puts in during an average summer weekend day is usually 12-14 hours. It’s easy to lose sight of the obvious and become blind to what your customers are actually experiencing.
Cleanliness of Bathrooms?
Cleanliness of the Hangar?
Cleanliness of the Packing Mat?
Hospitality of the Manifest Staff?
Clean goggles for students?
Frap hats in good condition?
Calls being too quick?
Identify every customer point of interaction with your business. Most DZ’s have 45 points of interaction!
Answer the question, “Are we providing 5 star service at each point of interaction?” If you’re not, you need to be.
3. Gather Feedback.
Poll your customers. If possible, e-mail your customer database asking for feedback.
Listen to what your customers are saying. Don’t blow the feedback off as trivial. This feedback is critical to a business’ survival and improvement. Make appropriate changes based on the feedback.
5. Set Goals.
In order to exceed the expectations of your customers, a measurable goal must be set for everyone in the company to work towards and achieve.
Create a statistic that charts progress based on the new goals.
Recognize pain points employees endure when trying to deliver excellent service. Make it as easy as possible for your staff to amaze the customer. Also, identify team members who are unable to deliver the level of service management requires. Try to coach employees wherever possible, but be ready to remove team members who do not buy-in.
8. Establish Culture
Delivering amazing service does not happen by simply announcing “Let’s give better service!” Employees need to be happy in order to deliver great service consistently. Establish core values with employee input and hold the company to that standard from the CEO down.
Communicate and over-communicate. Give as much feedback to employees as possible. People wish to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves and will take more pride in their work if they know their contribution makes a difference. Praise publicly and always punish privately.
Powerful marketing focuses on how a customer feels about a company. Exceed the expectations of your employees and they’ll exceed the expectations of your customers. It starts with attention to detail and what’s right in front of us.