Done in by a discomfort station

It is my firm conviction that everything boils down to a matter of perception. Take a half a glass of water, by way of example. An optimist thinks the glass is half full. A pessimist thinks the glass is half empty. A pragmatist thinks he is halfway to the next drink. A defeatist thinks if he sticks around, he’ll have to wash the glass.

It is the point of view of your customers and technicians – their perception - that matters, never yours.

The challenge for today and tomorrow is to constantly dazzle both customers and technicians.

That is the fundamental way to create genuine value, clearly differentiate your company from the competition and build solid relationships, loyalty and referrals, all of which contribute to a continuing profit cycle.

A strong foundation for achieving this is management of customers’ and technicians’ perceptions. I can assure you from personal experience that when it comes to creating impressions, it is the little things that make a big difference.

Many organizations seem to understand this concept when it comes to their customers, but not with regard to their technicians.

The Heart of It All

It has been said the service department is the heart of any type of vehicle maintenance and repair operation. As such, this department needs to be kept healthy and strong.

Among the measures taken to keep the service department performing well: finding and hiring qualified technicians, making continual investments in their training and certifications, putting technicians in positions where they can excel, and rewarding and recognizing them for their efforts.

All of this is essential, as the success of any company is dependent upon it’s workforce. The more effective a company’s human capital, the better it is able to compete and prosper.

What a Mess

While visiting a rather large truck maintenance operation, I made a trip to the technicians’ bathroom. Upon entering, I immediately saw that it was a “no comfort station.”

It obviously hadn’t been cleaned in recent history. The trash can was overflowing. Worse still, there was no toilet paper and no paper towels.

Imagine what goes through a technician’s mind when he or she enters such a place.

Actions Back up Words

Your latest company communication to your technicians discussed the importance of their continuing their education and training in order to keep up with the increasing complexity of vehicles and diagnostic tools. It emphasized how your technicians are invaluable contributors to your operation’s success.

When nature calls, or when a technician wants to wash up for lunch or before leaving for the day, he/she heads to the technician’s bathroom. What do you think happens to their perception of your organization when they step into a dirty, necessities-lacking restroom?

Does this demonstrate what you have been claiming about the integral value of your technicians?

Negative Consequences

Dirty restrooms can have profound, negative consequences. If you don’t care about clean restrooms, you are unintentionally giving the impression to your technicians, and others, that cutting corners is okay.

Beyond aesthetics, properly cleaned and stocked bathrooms promote good health and hygiene.

Studies show that a clean, healthy environment increases employee morale and productivity, plus decreases tardiness, sick days and turnover. What do your bathrooms say about your organization?

A Big Difference

I leave you with a quote from author Bruce Barton who said, “Sometimes, when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think there are no little things.”

Little things do make a big difference, especially when creating impressions that help build more effective human capital for your organization.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.