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A dog and a cat were recently having a conversation about how each other looks at the world.
They had been friends a long time and the dog had recently been promoted to the title of Service Manager of his Dealership. The cat had stopped by for a visit and to congratulate her friend on his recent promotion. And, as Managers are prone to do, they began to discuss how each run their own Service Departments. Let’s listen in to the conversation.
“I tell you, it ain’t easy being the dog” the dog said somewhat mournfully. “Especially when you are put in charge of the Service Department. I mean, I wanted to be promoted but I guess I wasn’t really thinking about all of the stuff ya gotta do.”
“For example, I have to get started on improving the Customers perception of our Service Department. Our CSI is a big problem. For some reason, we don’t do very well with cat Customers” he said while glancing somewhat anxiously at the cat.
He continued lamenting and the cat continued listening somewhat attentively, as cats are prone to do. “I mean sure, we can bark and run fast, but is it enough to satisfy all of our Customers?” Suddenly he was quiet for a bit, his brow furrowed in thought. The cat waited patiently.
After a few moments, with a loud, bold bark he declared “I am in charge of this Service Department and things are going to be different around here starting right now!” This surprised the cat…slightly…and with a mildly bored voice put forth the following question “So, what are you going to do?”
At this point the dog got very excited. He started running around wildly, stopping to gesture with his paws and pointing emphatically “Over there we can put in an automatic bone and treat dispenser, with paw control. Then any dog could just walk up; put your paw down on the control, and Bam! a bone or a treat would shoot out!”
The he pointed another paw and said “Over there I am going to put in a big spray shower, one that would let you get a drink or get wet. If you get wet you could either run around to get dry or lie on the grass over there and get warm in the sun.”
The cat now became interested, as she began to realize there did not seem to be any facilities or amenities to her liking. The dog was on a roll, however and continued to bark, getting more and more excited, as dogs are prone to do.
“And over there would be the BIGGEST fire hydrant! I would paint it yellow and then all the other dogs would gather around to meet and greet, you know, like dogs do, sniffing everything and everybody.” At this the cat wrinkled her nose and said in a somewhat miffed voice “It does not sound very nice to me.”
The dog was incredulous.
He could not believe what he had heard. “I can’t believe what you just said! Are you saying that you would not like this new Service Area?!!! I mean, c’mon, it’s got EVERYTHING! Bones, treats, water sprayer and play area, with a meet and greet hydrant! What’s not to like?” he asked.
“Well, since you asked” the cat said as she uncurled and stretched, while arching her back and massaging the floor with her paws. (Cats take a long time to get started talking)
“I know you dogs like bones and treats (“and quite a lot of them I might add” she said under her breath), but we cats like small treats in small dishes, so we can munch when we want. We don’t mind waiting if we can take our time eating” she said. “And the water sprayer sounds neat and all, but we don’t like to get wet very much.” She continued disdainfully “And the meet and greet hydrant, well that’s just ….yuck.”
The dog was flabbergasted. In fact, he was so stunned, his ears popped up and he tilted his head, as some dogs do. But, he kept quiet and listened respectfully.
“Now if you were to ask me” she said as she started to slowly walk around “If this were my Service Department, I think over here would be a wonderful place to curl up on a chair while I am waiting.” Then she sauntered over to a sunny spot in the waiting room and said “It would be nice to have a nice warm cushion here, instead of grass to lie on outside.”
She then walked over to another area and said “And over here would be a wonderful place to have a pole for climbing with a flat upper landing to lie on and pounce down on your friends when playing.”
The dog realized he had not considered climbing, since dogs don’t climb very well. However, he was now listening intently as dogs are very good at listening.
“And instead of a sniffing and greeting area, cats prefer quiet areas we can stay in and greet if we like.” the cat said. “That’s the type of Service Department I like and would do business with. One that that caters to cats.”
The dog then realized how different they each perceived the world. The conversation with the cat caused him to think about all the things that made them different. Then the dog had a great thought. What about all the things that made them similar? Surely there were some things they had in common!
The dog then made a list of all that he could think of that he had in common with the cat. Amazingly, he found that many of the same things that dogs like, cats like.
For example, dogs and cats like a warm area to keep dry when it rains, both like fresh water, both like good friends and family, both like straightforward communications with everyone and both liked someone to listen to them when they had something to say.
Using this list as a springboard, the dog made some adjustments to his vision. (With input from the cat, of course.)
Instead of a water park, they decided to have a large pool of water, with a separate area to get a drink. That way all of the dogs could play in the water while allowing cats to get a drink and not get wet.
For the bone and treat bar, they decided to have separate dispensers. The cats got a dispenser that let a few treats fall into a small dish. The dogs got a dispenser that allowed them to get as many bones or treats as they wanted. Later, the dog had to change the rules and declare a “one bone, one dog” rule. (Dogs are like that)
They then placed cushions in comfortable areas in quiet places, which were warm and bright. They also had a play area with lots of grass for running around and barking. As for the BIG fire hydrant, they decided that a more subtle approach was needed, and had an enclosed “area” for the dogs to meet and greet and a separate “hide and wait area” for the cats.
When they were done, the dog and cat looked at the finished Customer Service area, and decided it met both their needs.
Are you a dog running a cat store? Have you looked at your Customers needs and wants? And have you asked them what they would like? Maybe you have been barking instead of purring? Take a fresh look. Use the similar and different lists to find areas that need attention.
Once you have built the list, use it to refine and define your vision. Focus your efforts on the items that have the most potential for bridging the gap between the types of customers you normally serve. Some may want quiet areas or more amenities.
You may find in your investigation that you need to upgrade the skill level of key employees to meet the needs of the Customers you serve, especially in regards to communications. Or maybe it’s as simple as adding a lounge area with internet access.
Whatever area you need to address, start with input from Customers and employees alike. Soon, all of your Customers will be tail wagging and purring.