Think like a retailer prior to your school open houses.
Good advice, no doubt about it.
I wish I had “thunk it.”
But it was Bob Negen’s recent “WhizBang Tip #559” that woke me up to this fact.
He and his wife Susan are premier customer service and retail consultants – and the whole “choice and competition” environment is one they know well.
This is why I value the weekly tips they send out to brick and mortar retailers.
I can’t say I’ve read all 559 of their posts, but I’ve read a ton of them, and without fail, every tip they offer provides a relevant think-point for school leaders and communicators.
Bob recommends in it that businesses “borrow their customers eyes.”
And no, this has nothing to do with borrowing your spouse’s reading glasses when you’ve misplaced your own.
This is about expanding your own field of vision to see ALL that your customer WILL see.
Bob writes about a small boutique hotel that made sure that all of their guest rooms were neat and clean.
But unfortunately, the high level of care and effort taken inside the guest rooms did not include the main lobby and the outside café and seating area.
The customers noticed.
This resulted with the guests checking out of the hotel later with an impression that was generally negative – even though their own sleeping quarters were perfectly fine.
The owners of the hotel had probably forgotten that the expectations of their customers extended beyond the walls of their own rooms, and they paid a steep PR price for the oversight.
Do you think this experience has significance for our schools? (I do… and if it scares you to discover that you’re starting to think like me… you still have time to change your answer.)
Yesterday I walked through several of our schools as busy-bee staff members were getting ready for next week’s open houses.
I saw teachers setting up displays, creating videos for flat screens, wiping tables, creating classroom calendars, and making colorful and inspiring spaces for learning.
Everything was as it should be. Whew!
Or a least I thought so until I read that dang WhizBang Tip #559.
Then I pretended to be a parent who had just parked in a school visitor parking lot and “borrowed their eyes” to walk into the main school entrance.
I saw things a bit differently.
I saw outdated signs on the walls from last spring (ones I taped up!) and directional signs that gave the correct information, but were placed in bad spots (me again).
As I saw a few more areas needing attention, I got Bob’s point speedy-kwik.
We’ve got to be careful when we stand in the middle of a classroom and call it “good” using our insider’s perspective.
We need to “borrow the eyes” of our parents from the moment they begin pulling into our driveways.
Bob concluded Tip #559 with this bottom line comment: Retail is ______________.
Check it out if you dare. I left it blank so you can fill in your own one-word answer.
I liked the word Bob used, though.
You might, too.
And you know what they say about “great minds thinking alike…”
Dangerous territory indeed.