I have recently been shopping for dog stuff. With a new puppy in the house after a long break, we need all the usual stuff. Baskets, beds, chew toys, leads, collars and a smattering of impulse purchases that I will no doubt regret. Fortunately for me, close to where I live is a range of pet warehouse retail opportunities.
I have visited them all more than once. I have noticed however, that the amount of help available anywhere other than at the counter seems to be in short supply and when it is available the willingness of the person to help is in inverse proportion to their knowledge base. So if they know nothing, they are very willing and if they know lots, then you can’t find them.
It seems that the way to get the information you need is to stand in a queue at the front counter, preferably in front of someone struggling to hold all the 20 kilo bags of dry food they are buying for their menagerie, and then stop and have a lengthy chat with the person serving.
While all of this is probably acceptable somewhere, it is not working for me. I feel way too guilty holding up the line, so I wont line up and then chat, and when I walk around the warehouse I can’t find anyone that knows anything. Consequently I have purchased a range of things based on the advice of someone who clearly (as it turns out) knows less than I do.
The only thing left to do is to come up with a name for the retail ratio. Perhaps the Warehouse help ratio fits best, hardly very inventive though, what do you think?
One of my favourite short business sayings comes not from an American business leader or a President or wartime Prime Minister but from a waitress in Denny’s in Hawaii. My bride and I were on holidays there and we had ordered something from the menu out of curiosity and when we tasted it we curled up our noses at the blandness of it. The waitress leaned on the counter next to us and in her wonderfully rich American accent, said ” you’ve got to pump up that puppy” meaning add taste, and pushed a rack of condiments across the counter to us.
That lovely expression has resonated with me for years. How many businesses do you walk into that need to “pump up that puppy”? Recently I was in country NSW at one of the regional hubs and had breakfast at a cafe chosen purely because it was the first one open. It called itself something green and fair and rootsy, perhaps even organic but upon entering, it looked more like an ex ice cream shop. Bad lighting, bad furniture, bad decorating. It had bags of garlic hanging under the front counter that looked more like chewing gum stuck under a desk than it did an homage to rootsy back to earthiness. The quote came instantly to mind. You’ve got to pump up that puppy!
The coffee was great, or at least one of them was, you see, in spite of me being the only person in the place, two different people made my two coffees. Who is the best coffee maker? They should be making the coffee! Pump up that puppy by having clear roles and playing to your strengths.
The paleo pancakes read much like the French toast on the menu so I asked barista No1. which was better. He said he preferred the pancakes so I went with that. Once I had eaten them, that was the perfect time to engage with me by asking if I had enjoyed them. Pump up that puppy by engaging with your clients. Pump up that puppy by seeking feedback.
I understand that there is an inherent risk in asking for feedback, it can be scary. But here is your only customer and he has asked for your personal advice, followed your recommendation and you fail to follow-up? That is just a wasted opportunity.
The breakfast btw was sensational. The plate looked like something from the nineties which was disappointing all swirls and wisps, but I could not fault the texture or taste. Here was a business that really needed to pump up the puppy.
I wanted to give them feedback but I went to Facebook and couldn’t find them. Surely a new business is going to have a Facebook presence aren’t they? They should! Pump up that puppy by connecting with the local eaters and coffee drinkers, letting everyone know how early they open and what great food they serve.
I wonder if they will be there when I next return? Almost certainly not if they fail to pump up that puppy!