I believe that the humanization of commerce is the next era in business development.
Of course, the humanization of business isn’t just about amazing face to face service. That would be far too simplistic for business success. Every part of our business needs to think ‘customer first’. Key parts of this include the physical structure, infrastructure and design.
I’ve just returned from a decent size road trip with my family (two adults, two kids under six years old) of 3400+ km over four days, During that trip, I repeatedly encountered parts of the service equation that are most essential to road warriors. The rest stop.
Over the last four years, the province of Ontario has invested in the construction of new, modern and standardized service centres called “ONroute”. As the leased properties of older service centres along both Highways 401 & 400 have come up, the Ontario government has been replacing the old, eclectic, out-dated service centres with standardized modern facilities.
These are the services designed into each of the stations:
- Parking lots that are consistent and simple to navigate
- Gas pumps with hoses designed to reach both sides of your car (no more waiting in line for the pump on the correct side)
- Environmentally friendly buildings, utilizing water free urinals, low consumption toilets and the coolest touchless hand dryers I’ve seen in a long time!
- Designated rest and exercise areas of pets; no more trying to walk Fido around the old tiny grass perimeters
- A design that allows for natural lighting to be provided to 75% of all areas
Now, in Ontario, the infrastructure has become clean, fresh and modern. I actually looked forward to making a stop just so that I could marvel at all the thought put into these facilities. After travelling through three other provinces to return home, I think other provinces could learn a huge lesson here. Investment in facilities sends a clear message to your customers: we want your travel dollars, appreciate your needs on the road, and are willing to service you to the very best of our abilities.
The government of Ontario listened to their customers. Then they actually did something about it. Well done!