Goofus and Gallant … A Tale of Two Businesses
Some of you may recall the classic characters Goofus and Gallant from Highlights Magazine for Children. As you might guess, Goofus did things wrong … and Gallant, as the name implies, was gallant and did things right.
In doing some research on this, I learned that the Goofus and Gallant feature never offers direct lessons or shows consequences. Highlights CEO Garry Cleveland Myers III notes, "It simply shows a wrong way and a right way of doing things, that's all."
With all the discussion going on about evolving business models within our industry, I thought we could learn a couple of things from businesses outside our industry. Whether you are a supplier or a distributor, one key to success is making it as easy as possible to buy from you.
The “Goofus” way is to make it hard to do business. The “Gallant” way would be to not only make it easy to do business, but to exceed all expectations of delivering an outstanding customer experience.
We can all think of businesses that fit the Goofus role. The department store Kohl’s is a good Goofus example. A recent experience in trying to make a simple purchase at Kohl’s was frustrating, and defined the concept of making it hard to do business.
I needed a wallet, and the Kohl’s website showed the $30 wallet I wanted was $22.50. In addition, as part of their discount strategy, there was also a 15 percent off coupon discount. If you know how to play the Kohl’s pricing game, you will win some great values.
When I went to the store, that wasn’t the price. It was buy one, get one half off. I only needed one wallet. I showed the frazzled cashier the website price, but was told that was the online price. OK. I get that. I was then told I could buy it online and pick it up in the store. It makes no sense that I had to make a purchase online that I couldn’t do at the cash register ... but I understand online pricing.
All right. I’ll play it their way. I can do that and use our Kohl’s card to get 30 percent off. My shopping-savvy wife is OK playing the game. I'm not. I place the order and then find that they will charge me shipping for the wallet that is right there in the store. Are you kidding me? It makes no sense. I ended up buying a nice Tommy Hilfiger wallet on Amazon with free shipping, and it came quickly via Amazon Prime. There is a Goofus and a Gallant way to do business.
Any business that doesn’t make it easy to do business with them will have challenges in the new marketplace. That, of course, includes our industry. PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone makes that point in this thought-provoking commentary.
Now I get to share the Gallant story! This is much more exciting. Here I can illustrate what can be done to create an awesome customer experience.
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems are quite popular for a variety of reasons. My business has used one for years. I didn’t care for the company I had been using with their foreign support, but it worked, so I put up with it.
A friend suggested that I check out Nextiva. While I didn’t want to take the time to make a change, I am so glad that I did. The phone system is less expensive, and their support defines awesome.
The company is based in Arizona and everything is handled there. Setting these systems up can be a bit complicated, but they walked me through it all. As part of the process, I needed to call support many times. They were always patient and thorough in helping me get everything working.
That was all good … but this company did the extraordinary. They actually filmed a personal message in response to a complimentary Facebook post I made. This 13-second video illustrates the value they place on customer satisfaction.
But wait … there’s more! I was a bit blown away when I received a FedEx package with branded Nextiva promotional products as a thank you gift. Nextiva understands the importance of using branded products.
Every person I worked with at Nextiva was exceptional. In our discussions, I learned that they were happy to be a part of this company. Quite unlike the frazzled cashiers at the Goofus-inspired Kohl’s.
We can all learn from our Gallant example, Nextiva. If their business model is of interest, you can learn more in this enlightening interview with Nextiva CEO Tomas Gorny: The Importance of People and Culture in Company Success.
If you need a VoIP phone system, I would highly recommend Nextiva. As part of their business-building program, Nextiva offers a $100 referral fee. I’ll direct you to my great sales rep. This is a smart business-building strategy. There are no contracts and this company is clearly doing the right things to thrive in a highly competitive marketplace. We can learn from them.
Consider recording personal thank you videos and using your own marketing medium to showcase your branding capability. Ask for referrals and reward clients who like doing business with you. Be exceptional in caring about delivering a memorable customer experience!
Goofus and Gallant made their debut in Highlights magazine in 1948. The character traits these two taught us are still relevant today.
Jeff Solomon, MAS, is affiliated with a Top 10 distributor company and also publishes FreePromoTips.com, a popular industry resource. The PPAI-award winning FreePromoTips.com website and twice-a-month e-newsletters are packed with beneficial information. You can opt-in to receive these informative twice-a-month e-newsletters here! Check out what’s new in the GP2: Good Products-Good Prices section of the site. Take advantage of free end-user safe product videos you can share from their YourPromotionSolution.com website. You can stay connected to FreePromoTips on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or me personally on LinkedIn, my new personal Twitter and Instagram accounts.