I See What You Mean
I recently had my annual eye exam. I had noticed no change in my vision over the year, but learned that my right eye now has 20/25 vision, as opposed to the 20/20 vision I had a year ago. It was no significant change, and the doctor said I really didn’t even need to update my prescription.
To examine my vision, the doctor had me read the familiar eye chart through a device called a phoropter, which is an instrument commonly used by eye care professionals when conducting an eye examination. It contains different lenses and is used to measure an individual’s refractive error and to determine his or her eyeglass prescription. In my far less scientific terms — it’s the “thingy” that you look through as the doctor asks, “Can you read the chart more clearly on setting one or two?”
My change in eyesight was so small and gradual that I hadn’t noticed it. Yet someone, who knew what they were looking for, found it and pointed it out. In many ways your fast lube operation goes under similar examination, not yearly, but every single day, by those who know what they’re looking for — your customers. Believe me, they notice changes in things you see every day and never detect a difference.
Let’s take a few minutes together and perform an “eye exam” of your fast lube operation, from your customer’s viewpoint, to determine if perhaps you need to upgrade your performance-perception lenses.
I See What You Mean
Almost every business has its own mission statement. Some have it only because owners think they should, and then think no more about it. Many businesses not only have a mission statement, but also prominently display it for employees and patrons to see.
It often begins with: “Our mission or objective is...” and then goes on to specify in quantitative or qualitative terms what or how they plan to provide their product or service. Some are very lengthy, and some are just a few words. I saw one recently in a copy center that simply read, our mission: “You bring it. We’ll copy it.”
In a fast lube that I visited some time ago, a mission statement, notably posted in the waiting area, promised the following: Quick and efficient service, cleanliness, friendliness, professionalism...and a number of other impressive assurances, which ideally would increase customer confidence.
So, given that list of promises, I decided to pick just one and observe how they delivered on their pledge. I chose the first one on the list — quick and efficient. After 50 minutes, with only two cars in the service bays, I came to the conclusion that in this case “fast lube” was an oxymoron and that they had brutally violated the very first promise touted in their mission statement.
If, in fact, the posted mission statement serves as the lens through which a customer views a business’ performance, as many times it is, the most important question becomes what did you experience as compared to what was promised?
Regardless of the promises noted on a mission statement, the customer always pronounces the decisive view of their experience, just as my fellow patron did, to the fast lube manager, after waiting an hour for a basic service. The manager apologetically gave several explanations for the wait, to which the customer simply replied, “I see what you mean.”