Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting the number one rated provider for a nationally known moving truck rental company. While you might think the shop she operated was big and bright and beautiful, sporting gleaming counters and huge fleet of vehicles, reality looked much different. The shop was tiny, sharing space with a couple of related businesses. The fleet consisted of just a few trucks, and the woman behind the counter was the sole employee.
How did she rise to the top of more than 15,000 locations in the country? By relentlessly, intentionally taking care of her customers. She keeps her trucks spotless, inside and out. She makes sure her fleet is meticulously maintained. She keeps her moving blankets so neatly folded and creased that customers ask her if they are new. She always gives her customers the benefit of the doubt, and she stays awake at night wondering how she could have handled each tricky situation better. Really, she does.
This woman’s attention to detail not only got my attention, it also made company officials take notice. Surprisingly, however, their reaction wasn’t what I expected. Rather than looking at her business as a model for helping others grow their franchise, they instead felt threatened. Her high standards frightened them, and they reacted in a paroxysm of nonsense:
“You’re going to raise the expectations of our customers!”
Holy moly! Yes, you read that correctly. The company officials even asked her to back off; they told her she was making other locations look bad. Thankfully, she has no intention of changing her business model.
The bigwigs are right, you know. This special woman will likely raise the expectations of her customers–and I hope she does. After all, isn’t that the point?