Gas Station Frustration
Recently I had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans from Memphis to attend a NACE conference there. On the road trip down, I encountered a situation that most travelers run into after their 3rd bottle of water of the trip…I had to pee! I was somewhere south of Jackson, MS…in the middle of nowhere…and my options were limited. I exited the interstate once and approached a gas station that seemed pretty nasty…I quickly turned around and continued on to the next exit. A few miles later, I was met with a couple other less-than-ideal options but I had to stop. When I entered the restrooms, I was not surprised…it was just as I expected, a complete mess.
This experience made me think about what I would do if I owned a gas station in rural Mississippi.
First, I’d clean up! Although the general public may expect service stations to be disgusting, there’s nothing wrong with exceeding expectations. We’d have plenty of toilet paper. The soap dispensers would be filled. Those paper seat covers would be available in every stall. I’d have extra paint on hand to cover up the artwork that may appear. Those bathrooms would be clean and I’d put a big sign out on the front lawn saying “Cleanest Bathrooms in Mississippi!” Why so much focus on the bathrooms…these are not revenue producing unless I’m counting my revenue from the Family Planning Station on the wall (I would NOT have this on my wall). How many times have you made a stop and decided to top off the gas, to get a snack, or buy something you hadn’t originally planned on? Increased traffic to the restrooms will ultimately increase sales and clean bathrooms will increase traffic. What about the moms who look at potty stops with horror in their eyes? They’d be thrilled to patronize a place that cares as much about their kids’ hygiene as they do. Truck drivers and road warriors I’m sure would appreciate having that place they can count on during the long commute.
I wouldn’t stop there…I’d have flowers in the flower beds and fresh windshield washing solution by the pumps. Air for tires would be free. My gas station will be an oasis in the middle of the rest of the nastiness in the area and people will choose me. Doesn’t all this seem like a no-brainer? Why then do so many people overlook something so important? Appearance can have such an effect on success yet so many people don’t pay attention to this.
Appearance…what does your place look like? Is it dirty, cluttered, dated? Is your website the same way? Beauty, quality, and value are in the eyes of the beholders so what are you doing to rise above those low expectations that the rest of the market have set?
Featured Image by timparkinson