They can both destroy your Customer Experience

Have you ever put down the newspaper on the sofa, only to come back a half an hour later and discover someone’s left their magazine and a box of crackers right next to it?

Ever leave your shoes in the dining room after a hard day at work, and discover three other pairs and a pair of socks decided they belonged there, too?

Do you live in a neighborhood where one neighbor mows his lawn Saturday at seven-thirty like clockwork, and by ten a.m. everybody else feels like a lazy bum so they’re out there mowing, even when the grass hasn’t grown an inch?

They’re opposite sides of the same coin. Police call it the broken window theory, suggesting that one broken window in a neighborhood can start the neighborhood on a downhill spiral. Happens at home, in your neighborhood, even at work. The optimist’s version is the flowerbed theory… you get the picture.

Probably, you didn’t get this picture:

Landscapers' truck, with graffitti - Free Candy?

The free candy truck. Good thing they didn’t put the company name on it—where would the graffiti fit?

To follow up on last week’s outdoor lesson, I sadly deliver this charmless photo, shot in my apartment complex. My neat, orderly, suburban apartment complex. This, folks, is the truck of the landscapers who were hired to do some work on the courtyard in front of my building.

That is my car in the foreground. Which I moved away from this truck when I discovered it was to be left there overnight, from fear that it might encourage an otherwise law-abiding person, somewhere in the complex, to lose their head and graffiti something near this blight. Like, say, my car. Irrational, I know, to think that an urge to create graffiti could rub off on folks who see this. I felt silly moving the car. But maybe not quite nuts, if you believe in the broken window theory.

Okay, okay, I’ll get to the point. And it’s not what you think.

I’m not going to pick on the landscaping company for having such a nasty truck and such obvious disregard for the image their company is projecting.

There’s no name on the van, people. I don’t think they’re trying to project an image. That might be too highfalutin’ for them. They don’t need no stinkin’ image!

I’m not here to teach you an MCE lesson about what your trucks should look like, nor about keeping things clean forgoodnesssake. We’ll do that on other days.

This isn’t about respecting the rest of the world enough to park in an isolated spot if you are the unfortunate victim of a drive-by graffitiist.

This is about you.

Specifically, who you choose to hire. Because, dear reader, about a week earlier, I saw this truck in front of the main office of my apartment complex. (I mean, free candy. Who forgets that?)

The people who emerge from this van were there to pitch their services. To get hired to take care of the appearances of a very large apartment complex—issues that are too large, apparently, for the six full-time maintenance staff to handle. Big issues of aesthetics… and even though the thought of their taking care of aesthetic issues is alarming, we’re still not quite to my point.

My point.

Don’t hire these people. They may take care of you, their customer, with the lowest bid (I hope there was some half-baked reason for hiring them), but you are not taking care of your customers. To make your customers worry about riff-raff and vandalism while claiming you are making improvements is gross neglect of your customers, and pretty gross neglect of your senses.

No excuses for their occupation or anything else. I don’t want to hear it, because it’s bulls**t. There are plenty of landscapers who can do better, and in fact I’m not sure I’ve seen any who can do worse.

Don’t hire people like this, or you have entirely missed the Maximum Customer Experience boat. You’ve just broken your own window.


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson