Does anyone remember this fellow?
Fill ‘er up! Check the oil and tranny fluid. Tires seem a bit low. Clean the windshield, back window, and even the headlights.
The full service era was an ideal – a philosophy that the customer was worth the full efforts of service. Their time was important and service reflected that respect. Businesses were in business to make life a bit more convenient for the people who were keeping them in business.
That era seems to have passed. We are at a complicated stage where we are either just too busy – or we only think we are too busy. The result is the same, though – find out how to squeeze 48 hours into 24.
For business the solution seemed obvious – automate and let the customer attend the little perks themselves. Call it streamlining, promote it as a savings, then charge more. Theoretically it’s logical because it represents a lower overhead with higher return, but the real cost is that level of attendance to the customer. The show of respect in service has been taken out of the equation.
Now here is the flaw. The consumer is stressed because there’s just not enough hours in the day for them to earn a living and tend to their responsibilities. Business is stressed because there’s just not enough hours in the day for them to maintain the business of an automated system that’s purposed to provide the services while increasing the revenues.
“Full service” has not been removed – only “service“. It’s now The Full Era. Full of things that need to be done, and overflowing.
To avoid misunderstanding, we want to clearly state that there are many, many, many (and did we say many?) business services out there who genuinely desire to serve their customers. They are the lights of a busy world that invite clients to return, and convey their respect that the client is a reason they are in business. But The Full Era is a belief, and it’s systemic. It’s mission declaration is, “Not enough time.” And it becomes self-fulfilling as more buy into it. A genuine desire to provide service is insufficient, and often of little consequence because “Not enough time” becomes for all intents and purposes, true.
Since that belief has the weight of being true, it’s ineffective to deal with it by refuting or contradicting. The only method to address is to present and deliver a reasonable alternative. And that responsibility lies with the businesses who deliver service. Restructure automation as a complement to consumer respect. Focus on freeing up the time of your clients, and resist the urge to look at your own time as insufficient. The greatest success comes from cultivating a sense of community in business. Deliver a good product, and deliver it in such a way as to truly serve the needs of your client. Address “Not enough time” with that reasonable alternative.
So what is that reasonable alternative?