Good for Your Brand - Servicing Your Product AND Your Customer
I'm blogging this from my Saturn dealership. No, I don't have a crackberry ... just me and my trusty MacBook Pro. Now, that may not seem extraordinary, but think about it, I'm blogging (or "working remotely") at my Saturn dealership.
I had to take my car in for its regular maintenance (I lease and I *always* go to the dealership). In Vancouver where there is only one, maybe two, of everything (unlike the bounty that is Toronto), my Saturn dealership is quite far away. So I don't really have the breezy "drop the car off in the morning, get a shuttle to the office, get a shuttle back from the office, pick up the car at the end of the day" option. Going to the dealership and waiting for service is a significant time commitment.
I brought my laptop with me intending to work in the reception area and had steeled myself for a noisy, off-line, non-ergonomic experience. After Richard checked me in and gotten the mileage, he asked, "Is that your laptop? If you want to do some work, I can set you up at one of our desks [they have extra desks for weekend sales folks]. We have an encrypted wifi network and if you want to use the phone, just press '9' to get an outside line." Then he winked, "And if you don't want to do any work, I won't tell your boss." I almost wept with delight.
Now, I already love Saturn for mostly irrational reasons (remember the "'This is Julie. And this is her first car.' Applause. Weeping." commercial?), but now I REALLY love Saturn. They not only took care of my car, but essentially they are giving me an hour of uber-productive time. From a net perspective, by the time I leave, if you look at the cost of the service vs. my billable rate for one hour, they are paying me to be here. How awesome is that?!
So, how can your brand take care of your customer's other needs while servicing your product? It's all about respecting your customer's time and giving her tools to make her downtime more productive. What if your dentist's office had wifi? What if the Passport office had wifi and little cubicles where you could get some work done? How can you brand distinguish itself and turn the experience of it into an extraordinary experience?