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Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

I frequently visit an office building with an attached parking garage.  A while back, someone had the great idea that they could squeeze in one more parking space by painting the lines closer together and designate the spaces for “compact cars.” It was not a bad idea—in concept.  However, somebody forgot to ask the customers.

The first problem is the assumption that the distribution of compact to non-compact cars is equal and that drivers of compact cars will only park in the teeny-weeny spaces. Wrong!

People with “compact cars” don’t want door dings any more than the next guy so they will park in the more generous spaces.

The second problem is the assumption that drivers of non-compact cars will only park in the larger spaces even if it means they have to drive around and around up the ramp until a more generous space is available.  Wrong!

People with “non-compact cars” park in the first available space even if it means they park over the line and therefore take up two spaces.

The net result? There are always 3 or 4 ½ empty spaces in each row that are not suitable for any car to park. The space saving idea has resulted in wasted space because all drivers want the most convenient parking space and the ability to actually open their car doors to get out.

Before you make a “penny-wise and pound foolish” decision in your business, think about it from your customer’s perspective. If the decision doesn’t add value to your customer, perhaps you should find another solution.  Great service rarely starts by forcing your customers to do business “your way.”

About the author

Lisa Huetteman Lisa Huetteman is Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Black Diamond Associates, Executive Coach, Speaker and Author of the book The Value of Core Values: Five Keys to Success through Values-Centered Leadership. www.TheValueOfCoreValues.com

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