Proven Strategies on Service and Life
With all the change and turmoil taking place in
the world today, the only sure bet is that what
worked six months ago may not be a viable strategy
Between the financial problems facing some large
companies, the impact on staffing from recent
military activities, and the general economic funk we
have experienced for the last few years, it takes
some real creativity to continue to provide
outstanding service and value to our customers.
Here are two examples that clearly illustrate this point.
Some companies sell products that are so special and unique that they almost sell themselves. Other companies sell commodity items that are so commonplace that they’re practically boring.
Pizza could be classified as commonplace. Large
pizza chains have used a variety of advertising and
marketing campaigns to distinguish themselves from
the pack. Domino’s had a guaranteed delivery
time. Little Caesar’s offered two pizzas for
the price of one. Papa John’s claimed that
better ingredients make a better pizza.
Does this kind of branding help sell more pizzas?
It’s kind of hard to answer that question
definitively since there are many other factors that
affect gross sales.
A client of ours told us about a small pizza shop
in Holidaysburg, PA, which has a unique approach that
has shown measurable success. Once a week they show
up at my client’s building at lunchtime with 10
pizzas. Nobody ordered these pizzas; they just bring
them. When word gets out throughout the building that
there are pizzas for sale in the lobby, they are all
sold. All 10 pizzas. Every week.
I don’t know this for fact, but I would bet
money that they do this on different days for
different offices in the area.
This pizza shop demonstrates extremely well that
you can’t just wait for business to come to
you; sometimes you have to go out and stir things up
a bit. Their innovative method for creating
demand—bringing hot fresh pizzas into a
building of hungry employees at
lunchtime—yields measurable results, week after
Look at your own organization. Are there ways that
you could create demand for your products or services
by making them more available to potential
Entire MBA courses are dedicated to the topic of attracting and retaining new business, but sometimes the simplest approaches are the most effective.
Last week, I was traveling through the Dallas-Ft.
Worth airport on my way to deliver a program at a
conference in Philadelphia. Because I had some time
on my layover and my shoes were a bit dirty, I
figured I would take a few minutes and get a
The shoeshine attendant was a young guy, pleasant
enough, and he chatted with me as he worked on my
shoes. As he was finishing up, I saw him casually
scan the people passing by, but I wasn’t quite
sure what he was looking for.
Suddenly, as a well-dressed man walked by, he
shouted, “Right here!”
The man turned around, looking puzzled, and said,
The attendant replied, “You looked a bit
lost, so I figured you were looking for
It took a second as the man looked at the
attendant, then peered down at his shoes. He
hesitated for a moment, and then said, “But you
have someone in the chair already.”
“No,” came the reply,
“we’re just finishing
“OK, then, ” said the man, and he
headed over to the chair as I stepped out and paid
I didn’t have time to stay around and watch, but I suspect this young man had a steady stream of customers all morning long. And what was his marketing strategy? He simply asked for the business.
So many times we develop elaborate and complicated
strategies to develop and grow our businesses. But we
can all gain wisdom from the shoeshine attendant who
simplified his sales and marketing approach to the
basics: identify potential customers and ask for the
Look at your own approaches and see if you can
incorporate these fundamental ideas in a unique and
creative way to make your own organization
Developing Your Own Creative Approach
It doesn’t really matter what you’re selling, whether it’s a shoeshine, a computer system, or a pizza. It’s important to remember that a little creativity can go a long way toward giving you the edge you need to remain competitive.
All you need is a clear understanding of your mission, an innovative approach, and the perseverance to see your strategy through to completion.
A nationally recognized customer service expert, author, and trainer, RON ROSENBERG, CSP, recently founded Drive-You-Nuts.com, a Web site dedicated to helping people get the service they deserve and to teaching companies how to provide it. He has been featured in publications including The New York Times, Smart Money, and Real Simple and has appeared as a guest on nationally syndicated radio shows including “Dateline Washington” and the “Gary Nolan Show.” For more information, visit his Web site at www.drive-you-nuts.com .