Friday, April 29, 2005

T.I.P.S 101** Say "No" For Better Service

Say “No” For Better Service
By Gil C. Schmidt

I know some businesspeople, mainly entrepreneurs, who confuse “many services” with “great service.” These are people—unfortunately, a large percentage—who believe that by offering, say, 125 services, they will be considered “good service providers.”

The list of things you can do is always going to be much longer than the list of things you actually do, the things you should do and even the list of things you want to do. In order to be successful as a service provider, you have to say “no” to many items on the “I can offer this” list and thus reduce the total offerings to focus on what you can do best.

Another way of saying this is “Quality over quantity.” If you select certain services and give your all to make them the best they can be, you will definitely have an advantage over the people who want to do “everything” and end up doing almost nothing well.

On a business trip, I visited a restaurant with a fancy French name and a place called “The Chili Shack.” Both visits were the same day, as both places were near my hotel. The French restaurant had a menu loaded with seafood, poultry, beef, pork, lamb, pasta(!) and a wine list that looked like a phone book. The waiters were plentiful, the décor was sumptuous and during my 90-minute vist I had to ask for service several times (I went from polite to testy to snapping my napkin at the waiter’s arm.) Why? Because the restaurant tried to do too much: too many options slowed down orders, stretched meal times, created impatience and stressed everybody out.

On the other hand, The Chili Shack, a converted metal hangar, had a simple menu: chili. Small bowl or big bowl. Mild or hot. Served in seconds. You could order a cola, beer or water. Crackers were “all you can eat.” The place was clean and had one attendant, the owner. He had time to chat with everybody and for the half-hour I was there, some 25 people were served. At 11:30 at night. (The Chili Shack was open from 10 PM to 3 AM only. Talk about niches!) And yes, I’m sure the Shack had higher profits than le maison.

Do less to achieve more. Say “no” to being “everything to everyone” and focus on being “the best for many.” You’ll see your business improve dramatically.


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