Is it just me or does it seem like time goes by faster everyday? I remember hearing “time flies when you’re having fun!” as a kid, but now time seems to fly no matter what kind of time we’re having. To keep up we use abbreviations and acronyms and boil subjects down to slogans and catch phrases. There is little time for deep analysis and no time for real introspection. Empty phrases are bandied about, company culture, customer experience, competitive advantage, etc. without ever defining them. Like an increasing segment of our modern world these phrases sound robust, but have very little substance as mere talking points. It is easy to talk about creating a “competitive advantage” over the competition through a “company culture” that emphasizes the “customer experience”, but if there is no action plan these are now just corporate buzz words. Here is a bit of a duh moment, but a company with a clear idea of what the customer experience they want to foster is, beginning the moment a guest walks into the business through the conclusion of their visit, provides a better experience for both that customer and for the employees. It is easy for an employee to live up to standards that are clear, and those clear standards give each guest a predictable and hopefully enjoyable “customer experience”.
Not all places we do business with understand. That’s why we usually do business with them once. Instituting change is hard. But often what is much harder, is talking about or even acknowledging the need for it. It is far too easy to stay in the “this is how we have always done it” lane and become comfortable in complacency.
Luckily at Guaranty Chevrolet and RV Super Centers our leadership has valued the message behind company culture and customer experience since well before they became the phrases de jour. From day one, in late October 1966, Guaranty has understood that the customer experience is the result of the company culture. Our founder, Herb Nill, was famous for drumming up business wherever he went. He was quick with a business card for potential customers and was known to leave more than one note on vehicles he thought could use an upgrade. Nothing novel in the practice, businesses have been trying to increase their business since the history of businesses, but it is what happens once you’re here that was ahead of it’s time. Even in the hay day of the white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and a car in every driveway Guaranty embraced it’s small town roots and it’s family business principles. In today’s hurly burly world these practices seem refreshing and nostalgic, not in an old fashioned or outdated way, but in an it’s just the right way to do things way. We Do Whatever’s Right! after all.
I have worked in a multitude of retail and wholesale capacities in the RV industry over the past twenty five years and each of the companies I have worked for have all had some version of the “the customer is always right/we treat our customers right” slogan. They have all proudly touted this philosophy until the customer being right got expensive, then the customer was no longer right. Not so in my six years of experience at Guaranty. While I have seen several examples where doing what’s right after something goes awry became expensive I am most impressed with Guaranty’s desire to do what’s right before things have a chance to turn south. That’s a convoluted way of saying it’s just as important, if not more, to do what is right when things are good as it is when they are not. That’s a big reason why the fancy word cloud you see here just reinforces my fellow employee’s appreciation for our guests and our desire to treat them to a world class experience. It is a computer algorithm thingy that takes the most common words from our multiple reviews and creates this collage with them.
While some word origins are related to our business; truck, motorhome, Chevrolet, RV, purchase etc. many words come from customers descriptions of their experiences with Guaranty. The low hanging fruit is obviously words like experience and service, but if you look a little closer you see words that resonate a little more. Words like pleasant, helpful, and awesome speak to a customer experience we should all be proud of. Dig one layer deeper and you begin to see words like love, and family, and maybe the most telling you begin to see the names of the wonderful people who work here and strive to make your customer experience world class by doing whatever is right.
Company culture also directly influences the retention of quality employees and the fact that there are dozens of Guaranty Employees who have enjoyed twenty plus year careers here speaks volumes about our culture. Another indicator is the multiple family members, both sibling and multigenerational, that work in the various departments found across our dealerships. Our company culture is reflective of the values of our ownership, which started with Herb Nill and are now carried on by his sons. Hard work, honest dealings, and treating customers right have served Guaranty well and have kept us ahead of our time in creating a “competitive advantage” over the competition through a “company culture” that emphasizes the “customer experience”. Don’t worry, these are not empty promises at Guaranty, stop by any time for a cup of coffee and let us prove it.