If You are Remodeling Your Business, Start with the Attitude

McDonald’s restaurants in the Asheville, NC area are remodeling. Some buildings have been razed while others are retrofitted. During the updating process, one vital component was overlooked. Management’s attitude toward customers needs some work. A recent experience left me not “lovin’ it.”

The McDonald’s restaurant closest to my home reopened recently after remodeling. Last Saturday, my family and I decided that we would check it out. (My children were particularly interested in the playroom.)

My parents joined us on the excursion. They ordered sandwiches, fries, and senior coffees. The young man taking the order rang it up and stated the price. As my father was paying, the supervisor on duty instructed the cashier to change the order. He said that sandwiches, fries, and a drink had to be charged as a meal. The order was changed and the total was about 10% more.

When large coffee cups were placed on the tray, my mother told the cashier that they wanted small coffees. The supervisor quickly returned and said, “We will give you small cups if you want, but you are still paying the same price.” My parents kept the large cups and vowed to never return to that McDonald’s. (Note to McD’s: There are other playrooms available.)

A Trip to Dante’s Inferno

The experience reminded me of a visit to a catalog company several years ago. The President told me that their facility was limiting their growth. He wanted my recommendations as to whether they should relocate or retrofit.

The building was friendly from the outside, but when you crossed the threshold, everything changed. I must have missed the “Abandon all hope, you who enter here” sign. If I had seen it, surely I would have run.

It appeared that working at that company sucked the life out of everyone. No one smiled. Some were noticeably nervous when I asked questions. Others refused to answer without approval from the President. I had never experienced anything like that before (or since) with an initial consultation.

It turned out that the company had an excellent marketing and merchandising team. Together, they created beautiful catalogs filled with perfect items for their carefully targeted market. This strategy had propelled the catalog to approximately $10 million dollars in annual sales. Then it hit a brick wall. The growth stopped.

There were lots of contributing factors. Things like two week order turnaround, poor quality items substitutions, and a customer service department that couldn’t define “customer” or “service” with a dictionary helped. But, they weren’t the cause.

The disease that ultimately killed the company was a bad attitude. The President believed that customers, employees, and vendors existed to serve him. No one could anticipate what would cause him to erupt in anger, so everyone tiptoed around issues.

Bad attitudes destroy companies.

They are infectious, spreading rapidly throughout the organization. Your relationship with your customers is only as good as their last experience. A bad attitude undermines the best strategies, marketing, and locations. Your only option is to eliminate the bad attitude.

If you are the leader and your employees are infected, find the source and correct it. If it is environmental, change it. If it is an individual or group, terminate them. If you are an employee and your leader is infected, find a new leader. Today is a great day to update your resume.

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  • Rudy Nino

    I was just re-reading my booklet entitled 50 Ways to Increase Your Profit-a guidebook to financial success for builders and remodelers by Builder’s Pi, LLC.

    Under #30 ‘You’re selling a service-not a product.’ it talks about selling with an attitude-just like Nike they are selling the feeling that you run faster, etc.

    So I Google (ed) the following words ‘remodeling with an attitude’ and you were number 3 out of 607,000 for remodeling with an attitude.

    So far I have enjoyed your site and it sad about the treatment your parents got.

    In our business we have learned mostly from the female consumer is to listen, listen, listen to your customers.

    Ultimately the customer is always right-they are your word-of-mouth marketer.

  • Debra Ellis

    Hi Rudy,

    Thank you for your comment and kind words. You are right on track with your “listen, listen, listen” policy. I’ve found that the companies that listen more have to talk less to get their points across.

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