They were the best of stores, they were the worst of stores, they had wisdom, they had foolishness...Charles Dickens, the beginning paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities paraphrased.
Patti's a leadership guru working with executives and managers to bring leadership expertise to their organizations. She shares her experience shopping at two garden centers. Here's what she writes:
Store A is managed and run by a large corporate organization, I have no idea who the venders are...
Store B is located at a large corporate organization but, in contrast, it’s run by a smaller green house renting the space from the large corporate organization...
Visiting Store A was a huge disappointment. The workers were ....assigned to the task and working part time jobs. They knew nothing at all about plants or gardening.
Visiting Store B was a complete contrast to the first store. The one single staff member there was running around like crazy making certain each and every individual had exactly what they needed.
Patti goes on to describe the irony of well-funded corporate giant, Store A, staffing with part-time workers, waiting to train them until the busiest garden shopping day of the year to train them...in order to maximize sales and profits. The plants were mostly in various stages of distress from the lack of care. Penny-wise, sales foolish.
She contrasts that with the approach of Store B who has but one dedicated, passionate, knowledgeable, prepared leader and store where the cash-register was ringing. And I'm sure repeat sales and referrals are already happening.
Story 2: A Tale of Two Stores by Jackie Huba of Church of the Customer blog.
Jackie's a recognized, best-selling author, co-author, speaker, blogger...on customer evangelism. I believe she could also hold her own in a retail shopping competition.
Jackie chronicles her clothes shopping experience with two stores in Austin.
Store A was Hem, a "jean bar" in downtown Austin. Jackie describes the personal service she received there as unmatched. If Jackie Huba says your personal service is unmatched...it's unmatched. Jackie wrote, the store owner's knowledge of jeans was remarkable, including contradicting what I heard on an Oprah show that back pockets on curvy-hipped women make your butt look bigger.
As a result, Jackie bought two pairs of jeans confident [she] will look great in them. That
will be [her] rational and emotional foundation to a strong referral.
Then it was on to the second store...specialty store in Austin, she found through Google. Racks and racks of styles and colors. Daunting, certainly, exacerbated by the store's young employees who spent more time chatting with each at the register than helping me or other dread-stricken women.
She bought. But I can't see her going back.
Notice the lack of referral for this specialty store. (Notice the kindness in not naming this store with the chatty, but unmotivated, employees.) Notice the rave referral for Hem.
Church of the Customer blog, written with Ben McConnell, receives a few hundred thousand visits a day....and as Jackie lives in Austin...quite a few potential shoppers in Austin are among those readers.
These tales of two stores result in two tales of two kinds of referrals: customer evangelism and...not.