April 6, 2010

MANAGING CUSTOMERS | What's Your Etched Fly?

The most compelling speaker at the SMG Forum this year was easily Frances Frei. She was engaging, funny, challenging, and thought-provoking. One of the points she made that stuck with me is to learn how to manage your customers for mutual benefits. She went on to illustrate this point with a very concrete and memorable story.

At the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, they were having a tough time managing customer behavior, specifically males going to the bathroom. The men's restrooms were filthy, and the airport authorities determined the constant uncleanliness was due to a lack of consistent aim into the urinals.

Their first solution was to put signs that said, "Focus." I love when leaders try to solve problems with signs. The Department of Motor Vehicles in Missouri has turned this into a fine art. Sadly, the signs did not work. Next, they came up with the brilliant idea of giving guys something to aim for, and they created an etched fly on the porcelain.

Instantly the cleanliness of the washrooms improved. Don't mandate the behavior you want from your customers. Find the etched fly that will naturally drive the behavior you're looking for.

Leave your observations in the comments below.

1 comment:

  1. Managing customers' needs are very important to maintain their trust. For me, that responsibility is truly challenging. That's why I'm so amazed at all agents from call centers. They know how to handle any situation, and accommodate the clients well.