Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

Creating Raving Fans

Raving Fans1Remember the good old days when you could pull your car into a service station and an attendant would not only fill up your car, but check your oil, tires, brake fluid and even clean your windshield?  Not long ago, I pulled into a service station that said “Self-serve” on the sign.  Just out of curiosity, I asked the manager inside if there was a choice.  It took a while for him to look up from his clip board, but when he did he looked at me like I was from Mars.  Several years ago, I read a book that I recently read again entitled Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles.  In the book, Blanchard tells the story of a sales manager who is counseled on the three most important tips in creating raving fans.  In a nutshell, to create raving fans of your business you must first identify what you want to achieve.  You must determine what the customer desires and then deliver more than they expected.  Sounds like common sense but too often businesses fail in that task.

I was raised in Rock Hill, S.C. and a fixture in that city for many years was a

A Texaco Full Service Station Circa 1955

A Texaco Full Service Station Circa 1955

Texaco station located on Main Street.  David Wylie operated the station with his wife Mable.  My father was an insurance agent for First Insurance Agency and wrote Mr. Wylie’s policy when a direct writer would not insure the station.  I can recall once having a problem with my car, and at the suggestion of dad, took the automobile to David’s station for repair.  David’s repairman had it running in no time and little by little I continued to patronize Wylie’s Texaco for gas and service.

Wylie Texaco Station Today

Wylie Texaco Station Today

David Wylie had several attendants who would hurry out to your car, put in the amount of gas you needed, check under the hood for all the fluids, and clean your windows.  They also engaged you in conversation and truly seemed interested in how your day was going.  On the occasion his attendants were busy with other cars or a new driver would pull up, Mr. Wylie, pipe clenched tightly between his teeth, would stride out to the island and began attending to their needs.  He never failed to ask about the family or how the day was going.  I always felt Mr. Wylie cared about his customers.  His station was older than most and his pumps worked a great deal slower.  But David never lost a customer because he and his staff always went that extra mile and gave just a little more than was expected.

Mr. Wylie retired from the service station scene years ago.  Today, the station still sits there.  The gas pumps have been removed but a garage still operates in the old building.  Occasionally I will drive by the old place on my way into Downtown Rock Hill.  Driving past, I imagine I see Mr. Wylie peering through the plate glass windows of the station, drawing on the pipe, overseeing his employees, going the extra mile to take care of his … raving fans.

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May 19, 2009 - Posted by | Leadership Lessons | , , , , ,

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