When I was a child, growing up in North Bay Ontario we all knew the places that were legendary to get fast food: Roman Villa, that made the best hot banana pepper assorted sub on the planet, Greco’s Pizza straight from Italy and of course Paul Webber’s, who’s burgers were legendary.
Every town has a list like this. It is remarkable in only one thing. One of these restaurants was a two and a half hour drive from North Bay. Paul Webber’s was the subject of urban legend. Paul Webber had built a walkway across the four lane highway so that customers travelling south to Toronto could stop for a burger. The reason behind the walkway was spoken of in hushed tones. Stories were told of near misses or actual deaths as rabid burger seekers risked or gave up their lives to cross four lanes of the worst traffic in Canada to get a Paul Webber burger. Need I say more? The legend grew to epic proportions. One fact was certain: Paul Webber didn’t want his customers risking their lives for his burgers. So much so that he was willing to pay substantial dollars for a parking lot across the highway and a sky walk across a four-lane freeway to make this happen. His customers, inspired by this commitment, created a wildfire epidemic around his burgers that has lasted some 25 years.
What’s your fuel? To generate this kind of wildfire word of mouth, your fuel is the level to which you care about your customers, your suppliers, and your business allies? How much are you willing to invest in them? The bigger your commitment the greater your influence.
Here’s two things to think about.
1) Make your commitment visible and stand by it. This can be a policy for customer service, an ethic by which you work or something physical, like a walkway across the highway. In any case, word is world! If you say, be it!
2) Once you’ve gone to the mat for those you serve, celebrate your commitment in the media. Shawne Duperon (www.shawnetv.com) has great resources to help you get started on this route.