What’s the secret?
When I was a kid (15) I worked at a dumpy fast-food place. We had one of those old drink machines with a big glass dome forever bathed in flowing orange drink. It looked nice. Very enticing on a hot Fresno day.
Only if you turned the machine off would you see mold growing inside the dome. The machine was rarely cleaned. We’d just add some drink mix and the corresponding amount of tap water to keep it full. It was shut off at night. That’s when we’d see the little flecks of green on the clear not-so-super dome. The basin, which could not be seen unless looking down on this disease dispenser, had a nice even coating of blue-green slime. We never talked about it. We’d just serve the stuff if ordered by an unwitting customer. We wouldn’t sell it to our friends. “Just get something else,” we’d warn them.
Few people who have worked in a restaurant will return to that restaurant to eat after they leave said employment. They know the secrets. The cook never washes his hands. The kitchen is really dirty. Maybe worse.
Other businesses have secrets. We had a month of trouble with our satellite TV provider. Finally, a tech support rep told me to call customer service and cancel our service. “They have orders to do whatever you want to keep you from cancelling. They’ll even give you new equipment for free.” Good tip.
I was recently told by another company to “be sure and ask for Vincent and your repair will get done right the first time.” And, “you don’t want room 414 because it has a funny smell, let me put you in 420.” Those little computer places with names like Bytes R Us often “substitute” lesser components because “most people can’t really tell the difference”.
Does your business have secrets? Of course, all businesses do. If you left your company today and needed to do business with your [now] former company tomorrow, what would you specifically ask for or avoid?
Now get to work fixing those things. Your secrets are your biggest problems. Fix them and tell your customers you have no secrets.
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog