Approximately 80% of the time I make a two-block walk between the Park ‘N Ride and my downtown Des Moines office each morning and evening. Sometimes, however, either because it’s cold, icy or I’m just plain lazy; I hop on the shuttle bus known as The Link.
In doing so recently it gave me pause to think about the service.
• During peak hours between 6-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m. you can pretty much depend on a bus being available every fifteen minutes. It’s entirely up to you whether to go on your own or hop on one of them
• It is a fairly inexpensive ride if paid on a monthly basis
• Most of the drivers are friendly, courteous and professional. They do what they can to make it a pleasant and safe sojourn. Some even go out of the way to ‘wait a minute’ for a last minute passenger scurrying across the intersection to catch a ride
• On the other hand, some are discourteous and act as though they are doing you the biggest favor in the world and riders are a necessary nuisance to be tolerated in order to earn a paycheck
• The drivers are the only point of contact between the rider and the Des Moines Area Rapid Transit system so we make our opinions of the organization based upon how they treat us. It can be a terrific experience, an indifferent one or even a distasteful one giving us a negative view of DART
I’m a big fan of The Link because it’s available when/if I need or want the service. Most of the time I’m fully prepared to ‘go it alone’ but other times they’re incredibly useful and I’m grateful for their existence.
Do you see where this is going?
Substitute small-business owners for drivers and DART.
Sometimes your customers and prospects need/want what you have to offer. Other times they don’t. You have total control about how they feel about their experience with you, however. If they don’t need you now—they might sometime in the future.
Do you treat them in a friendly, professional and courteous manner or as if they are in intrusion on your day? Are you available when needed? Do you go out of your way to concentrate on their needs and wants?
You are the main ‘link’ to potential buyers of your goods and services. How are you perceived by them?
The difference between the bus analogy and your business is that the buyers have a choice about the companies with whom they wish to work. DART is a municipal monopoly.
My hope is that you are constantly on alert to make each contact one of the most favorable experiences they’ve had that entire day!
Bill Sheridan—SHERIDAN WRITES, LLC
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