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Maybe it is just that I’m getting older (drop me a note if you disagree, please) and thus a bit pickier when it comes to quality control and customer service.
I have been noticing more and more lately that there can be dramatic differences from one company to the next, even among franchises which are supposed to run on systems to keep their businesses at a certain level of success.
So I thought this month I’d write about being accountable in our businesses, and whom to point fingers at when things aren’t exactly right.
And I’m going to pick on a behemoth of a company — Wal-Mart.
Now, I don’t have anything specifically against Wal-Mart. I hope this opinion piece doesn’t get the attention of Wal-Mart lawyers. I go there once in a while and they do have about everything you want or need. These stores mostly look the same and have the same systems in place. I’m sure somewhere in Arkansas there is a team dedicated to writing manuals and protocols on how stores should be run, whether in Columbus, OH, or Guaymas, Mexico.
That must not be happening (and this can be applied to any business) is actually reading those manuals and following those protocols.
For instance, there is a Walmart I have visited, and a term I would use to describe it is “trashed.” It is normally dirty (in all parts of the store) with unpurchased groceries piling up at the checkout counters.
The general feeling in the store is depressing.
But within a 30 minute drive of this Wal-Mart, there is another one. It’s different, drastically different. What is different is a nice, fresh appearance, clean and tidy. It is pleasant to walk the aisles.
So I thought about it. What is different? It is simple. His picture was on the wall, after all.
The store manager.
The store manager at the messy store wasn’t doing his job. The one at the nice, clean store was.
Now you might think I’m a little mean or petty by choosing just one person to blame for a store being in shambles. But you have to point the finger at someone. And in any business, it is the owner or manager who is ultimately accountable. The person in charge is responsible for everything that goes on in the business. And if this person can’t handle the challenge, you go on up the ladder.
This is especially true for owners of carpet cleaning or restoration companies.
This is a topic I discussed at a recent seminar. I said something like, “If one of your trucks is out there right now, and your technician opens the door and a mountain of empty McDonald’s bags or Coke cans falls out in the driveway — don’t blame the technician. It’s all your fault.”
Why? Because if there is a breakdown in procedure, the fault is owned by the one in a position of authority. The Wal-Mart I mentioned is an example of this. You put the right person in charge of that messy store and in a very short time it will be fixed.
So remember this, if there are issues in your business. You have the authority to monitor and fix problems. The result will be a nice, clean and tidy operation.
Then you can point at yourself and say, “I did that.”