business news in context, analysis with attitude

Chiming in on the discussion about efficiency vs. effectiveness, one MNB reader wrote:

It is probably about positioning for convenience vs. experience.  In your neck of the woods, it would be the difference between Stop and Shop and Stew Leonards.  Here in Salt Lake it's the difference between Smiths and Harmons.  Harmons differentiates on the basis of experience, and so knowledgeable employees and high quality foods are a key element of their positioning.

Responding to Michael Sansolo's column yesterday, MNB reader Dian Tucker wrote:

As a proud and long-standing Lexus owner, I have to agree with the “Customer First” strategy.

I purchase Lexus because it’s never a hassle to get repairs or checkups. If I need a ride home, they provide it.

If I need them to pick up my car to change the winter tires, they do it. They store my tires, so I don’t trip over them in the odd season.

Do I need a car, while my car is in the shop? Certainly. And it’s an upgrade, that rides like my current ride.

Do they treat me like a woman who doesn’t know anything about cars? No way.

When I bring my car in for service I pull into a heated garage. They have coffee for me, if I choose to wait.

And do I wait? Not for more than a few minutes, and even then with an apology for my valuable time.

100% I am at Lexus for the customer service, and I’d go back again and again.

MNB reader Tom Williams added:

The article reminded me of the “Go and See” podcast by Malcolm Gladwell.  In the podcast, Malcolm travels to Japan to experience how Lexus approaches the design of their cars.  I highly recommend listening to the 6 short episodes.

And another reader quoted and adjusted Michael's column:

“When we first opened our doors, it didn’t take us long to realize that we weren’t in the (insert the type of business you are in here!)  business. At (insert the name of your business here)  , we were in the people business. We needed to be helpful, respectful, and passionate — to treat people like guests. It’s what we all signed up for. And now when people need us most, (WE) do what we’ve always done — take care of people first. The rest will follow.”  

And now...send this out to your entire Team!  (I did.)  

Thanks for the reminder.

Regarding the survey of stores where appropriate behavior is not being observed or encouraged to the degree it should, one MNB reader wrote:

I am not surprised. Americans cannot stand back six feet.

Retail aisles are too narrow. The flow and layout leads to Americans congregating in certain areas.

I no longer shop at Kroger or Giant Eagle because these stores do not give a whit’s lick about their employees or consumers.

Fresh Thyme outside of weekend hours is better.

Meijer’s management should be fired. The store is poorly designed for physical distancing. Its employees are refreshing the shelves, preventing customers from physically distancing.

Costco hung signs regarding physical distancing but it is not enforced in the store.

Americans must change their behavior in the store. The stores need to encourage this change.

But MNB reader Tom Hahn disagreed:

This is madness. Are we going to measure success by how proficient businesses are at following random rules dictated by power-drunk politicians and unelected health commissioners? Or are we going to measure success by re-starting the economy, salvaging businesses and the futures of people who own and work at them, while minimizing the impact of the virus on those who are most vulnerable?

Nobody is forced to enter a restaurant or business where they don’t feel comfortable. Simply move on down the block until you find one that suits your safety preferences. I believe there is a term for this: common sense!

And finally, on another subject, from another reader:

In reading Your Views section today your wife spoke of you “being on a high horse” on your comments about civility.  I must say you got right back on your high horse on your comment about the designated hitter and “real baseball”.

Any 10 year old can figure out a double switch.  And I would argue that 25 teams in the league play “real baseball” better than the Mets on any given day that Noah Syndergaard is not on the mound. 

Whoa!  Fighting words … and interesting that you minimize the importance of Jacob deGrom, who only has won two Cy Young Awards in a row.

For me, it is not about the double switch.  It is about pitchers having to hit.

Let's hope that it won't be too long before the argument plays out on the field.