Follow in the footsteps

It wasn’t a planned stay, we happened to react to an invitation – perhaps because we were at the right place/right time, we were available. Our hosts here in Broome were planning on a 4500km road trip next morning to Brisbane and were looking for a house-sitter:

“Here you go Charlie, take the keys. Look after the house for us. The spare car is yours and the ‘cold ones, are in the fridge!”

Next morning, at dawn Gail and Rob disappeared Eastbound. I can vividly remember standing on the drive … ‘next time.’

Broome lies 1500km North of Perth, has a residential population of around 15k, swelling to three times that during the Tourist season of which we were the latest two. After a couple of days we’d had enough of the beach life and the understated hospitality when dear wife decided that now was a good time to apply a little ‘retail therapy.’

The local Mall, accompanying traders and souvenir shops had been assessed and quickly dismissed as ‘nothing special’ and as we put the feet up and away from the afternoon sunshine plans were being laid for an alternative ‘therapy.’

Then a voice from the other side of the fence …

‘You need to visit Maeve. Maeve and Dave, just down the road!’

Our ‘neighbour’ had overheard our conversation and suggested there may be a suitable spot to visit, ‘just down the road.’

Helpful she thought. Nosey I’d suggested. So with about 40 minutes drive in mind, we made plans for the next excursion.

We set off early, the mercury was at 30 degrees celsius and climbing with the only obstacles anticipated being a diversion past the local crocodile ‘refuge’ and the mandatory hostile farmer … we eventually found our way.

More a homestead than a retail destination I climbed out of the car and proceeded to assist Mrs K … just as baying hounds were heard and observed, galloping single-mindedly straight toward us.

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With much fuss we soon found out these hounds were more a welcome party as we were soon introduced to Dave, perched high on the veranda with a big smile and a very welcome ‘cold one’ already on offer.

My wife continued through the door and was immediately browsing. ‘This is nice ..’

‘Be with you in just a minute ..’ came a voice.

‘That’d be Maeve?’ I asked.

It was some ten minutes before Maeve appeared, by which time Dave and I were indulging a second ‘glass.’ Sue and Maeve had themselves struck up an understanding over a favoured Chardonnay and I clearly noticed that dear wife had now progressed from ‘browsing’ to ‘selecting.’

We spent time with the lovely Maeve and Dave. Sue was happy and as we proceeded to move toward our ‘wheels’ I couldn’t help but ask …

‘How did you manage to have the dogs offer such a unique welcome?’

To which Maeve replied:

‘Our dogs know that customers keep them fed. Our dogs offer a welcome to each car and guide them to the house … in exchange for their favoured snack of the day of course.’

‘Nice touch.’ I thought to myself.

We said our goodbyes and headed back to Broome and couldn’t help but discuss what we’d experienced.

Maeve and Dave had moved out of the ‘city centre’ some years before. Their aim was to provide a service that offered more. A customer ‘journey’ – literally.

Not budget. More exclusive with ‘bells on’ and with the added value. The offer is quality, it’s unique and it’s hand-in-hand with exceptional customer service together with their own ready made referral source …

‘you need to visit Maeve …’  I recalled

Personal recommendation. Nothing beats it.

Some weeks passed when Sue and I returned home from our visit to West Australia.

The usual post covered the hallway and amongst it all I noticed a postcard. It was from Maeve and it read:

Dear Sue and Charlie …

Thank you for coming to visit, we really appreciated your custom, lovely to meet you.”

regards Maeve, Dave.

To understand where we should position ourselves in business we need to observe. Observe what it may be our customers really want and work out how we can provide this.

Follow in the footsteps of our potential customers, then ask:

Can we confidently refer our own business?

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