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May 15, 2018

Last week I spent a couple of days traveling to Jacksonville. Inevitably this means relying on fast food for subsistence, which resulted in three dramatically different experiences.

I stopped for breakfast at one of the fast food giants. The drive- through line looked like I-4 in Orlando, so I parked and went inside. One register was open and there were six people in line. Because of this company’s experience and longevity, I did not think the wait would be long. Fifteen minutes later I had not made it to the counter, and by now it was too late to go anywhere else. Once I made it to the counter I ordered and waited another 10 minutes until my order was ready.

Hopefully lunch would be different. It was later in the day (2 p.m.) and the popular, sit-down, side-of-the-interstate restaurant was not crowded. I was immediately seated and started playing the games on the table. The waiter attentively served the two ladies to my immediate left. More people were seated and drink orders were taken while I twiddled my thumbs. The waiter (who I assumed was my server) continued to serve the table to my left with drink refills and humor. I stopped him and asked if I could order some iced tea. He said he would be right back. I saved him the trouble by leaving. I’m normally not so negatively impulsive but consecutive horrendous service was getting to me.

The next day I was almost hesitant to eat lunch but my appetite dictated otherwise. Lunch on this day would be at a Southern-based restaurant chain known for something besides burgers. This place was immaculate and from the time that I walked through the door until I ordered was about 20 seconds. They gave me a placard to place on my table and brought my food to me within a minute. The food was excellent and one of the workers offered to take my tray and refill my drink. My faith was restored, and more importantly, this experience reminded me of the importance of service. By the way, this restaurant was more expensive than most of the alternative fast food choices, but well worth it.

How can this possibly apply to the drywall business? If you treat people the way that they want to be treated you will easily surpass your competition. It seems like the most obvious and longstanding rule of commerce – and most businesses continually ignore it for the sake of empty profits.

I will avoid two out of the three businesses above unless there is nothing else available. Our goal - and what we strive for every day at Gator Gypsum - is that we will not be the business that any customer avoids. We will be the business that they look forward to visiting - every time.


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