Why you should evaluate all your contact points

So my family is returning from our vacation in Whistler last week and my four-year-old has to “really go.” We’re in traffic, and we’re not sure when we’ll get to the next gas station. Parents, are you tensing up a bit?

Finally, there’s one on the corner. What a relief.

Or not.

We pull in, I unbuckle my son and run to the bathroom. Posted below the bathroom sign is a note, “Bathroom for Employee Use Only.” Yikes!

I get it – it’s a cost thing. It costs to keep a bathroom clean for public use and though the oil companies are making record profits now, gas stations themselves live on thin margins. But at that moment in time, I wasn’t thinking about their costs. Wouldn’t it have been better if there was no sign on on the door?

About two hours later, another emergency potty break is needed so we stopped at a different station. What a difference. The minute I walk in, I’m greeted by not one, but two people that seem almost too friendly. The restroom was spotless and actually smelled good. Seriously. I wish every bathroom smelled that good.

So, where do you think we filled our tank that day?

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Jeff Hardin says:

    Patrick – this is so true! And I have a long memory about incidents such as these, and make mental notes of where to go (so to speak) on follow-up trips.

    Another pet peeve of mine with convenience stores is when the cashier is carrying on a conversation with their buddies and doesn’t acknowledge me when it’s time to pay up. I don’t expect red carpet and confetti – but hi … how are you … and thank you … would be nice.

    Great post!

  • Dan Murphy says:

    Your restroom experience is symptomatic of how franchise and chain operators often drop the ball from a marketing perspective. In the grand scheme of running a service station, another what? 10 or even 20 people a day using the john surely isn’t the crucial business metric that determines whether you succeed or fail financially.

    But closing off the restroom sure can guarantee that motorists will find and patronize ANY other choice for their future purchases of gasoline.

    My pet peeve along those lines — the epitome of ir-responsible marketing and the mother of all missed touch points — is the fast food manager who puts the rookie trainee at the front counter to greet the customers, input the most important data (the patron’s order) and even solve problems related to incorrect items, unacceptable quality and service delays. None of which the poor, befuddled trainee is remotely equipped to handle.

    The day I walk into a fastfood restaurant and the manager is happily greeting me and personally taking my order — because after all, I’m the reason he’s drawing a salary — is the day I become a regular customer.

  • Dan,

    Alas, the fast food service dilemma. The Quiznos by our office recently had an ownership change. That was a surprise because the owner was the person that rang up lunch orders.

    When asked why he was quitting, he said the work was simply exhausting. And get this, the new owner rings up orders too, which makes me wonder if Quiznos encourages franchise owners to work the counter, at least for awhile.

    One of our partners asked the new owner how she was doing. She said it was the hardest she’d ever worked.

  • Glad says:

    Glad to see people talk about gas stations and business practices. As an owner of a gas station and grill I’m happy to offer my frustrations with the general public and their expectations of perfect strangers and or businesses. As an owner I know first hand the cost of doing business and the cost of non revenue generating services we supply. It frustrates me to no end to see how people “expect” you to have a nice smelling restroom for their excreting needs. Even if they do not buy anything from your store they “expect” you to have a clean restroom for them whenever they decide to stop in and use it. There is a cost to everything and this is what ignorant people need to understand. Not only is there a cost but bad mannered people (seems like most people) are slobs when they use our restrooms by throwing stuff on the floor, peeing on the floor, pooping on the toilet seat and pooping on the floor. Yes I said pooping on the floor. So when my employees or myself have to clean up after other adults it raises the question of “why”. Why should I clean up after people all while paying for my septic system to get pumped out ever few months at a cost of $300 per pop, why should I go through all this for NON paying passer bys? Then I see this post of idiots who expect us gas station/convenience store owners to wipe their ass when they want to stop in and use my restroom for free! The attitude of Americans and their expectations is now wonder why most countries hate us. We are arrogant, pompous and rude.

    I can go on about this topic but it’s a waste of time. Unless you’re a business owner you will not understand. Most of you have what we call “hourly syndrome” it’s not a positive label either. Basically most people just don’t care what things cost “other people” as long as they get what they want for free. Most people always have their hands out and that disgusts me.

    If you want to use someone elses restroom at least buy something so they can continue to offer free restrooms to the public. Not to much to ask when you’re dropping turds in their toilets.

    Nuf Said

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