Friday Thoughts: Two Types
Earlier this week, someone told me there are two types of people in the world— those who are good with numbers and those who are good with people— and the expectations, strengths, and abilities differ significantly. There’s lot of truth in that and it got me thinking.
When you step back, you’ll also find there are two types of organizations— retail and service— and the expectations, experiences, and end results differ significantly. Mistaking one for the other is a good source of frustration, angst, and disappointment.
Retailers sell a product. Retailers can be large stores like Walmart or small, mom-and-pop locations. Typically, the products sold can be purchased from multiple physical locations or online, so price and convenience play strong roles. The products sold are uniform, usually mass-produced, and if something isn’t made to the specifications or standards of the customer, it can be returned. Profits are scalable (sell more, make more money) and people are interchangeable.
In the service industry, each job is custom— whether it be plumbing, construction, hair-styling, or auto-detailing. Customers have an idea what needs to be done, but when the professional begins the work, his experience, know-how, and ability to relate with others all play strong roles in seeing the project to completion. With service-oriented organizations, loyalty is king and quality is queen. (I’ll let you determine who runs the show in that relationship.) Scalability is dependent on customer loyalty. We don’t recommend a plumber because he’s the cheapest; we recommend a plumber because he helped us and we want him to help our friend.
As educators, we’re in the service industry. Each student comes to us with individual needs, and it’s our job to use our experience, know-how, and ability to relate with others to provide a quality service day-in and day-out. That’s how we build loyalty, that’s how we build trust, and that’s how we build a reputation.