Pizza is a food that most people like. Sure, everyone has their own preference and style, but it is one of those edibles that come in multiple varieties and there is usually a kind that someone likes. I think most would agree, pizza is the one food that can be pointed to that satisfies just about everyone. Even if you do not like tomato sauce, there is white pizza. Plain, sausage, mushroom and pepperoni are more traditional, while buffalo chicken, Hawaiian and Thai pizza are a bit more of a specialty. There are thin crust, deep dish and zazza styles, just to name a few. So when it comes to pizza, truly the melting pot of all foods, there is something for everyone, and there is no real need to force feed any particular style or topping because the beauty of pizza is that it can be customized.
As with pizza, if you are in a services industry and want to attract a multitude and variety of customers, you should not dictate the product and services they can purchase from your organization. The key is to listen to their needs and customize the services provided accordingly. Pizza parlors are a great example of an industry that is able to individualize its service while satisfying the needs of many.
Back in the 70’s, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd did a famous Saturday Night Live skit where they worked in a restaurant that only served cheeseburgers, Pepsi and chips. Customers would walk in and ask for different items, and they were always pushed toward cheeseburgers, Pepsi and chips. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a hilarious skit with them rattling off, “Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, Pepsi, Pepsi…” never really paying attention to what the customer wanted or desired, just fulfilling orders based on what they wanted to serve. It’s a funny skit, but it’s no way to run a business.
No matter what business or industry you work in, there are ways to customize your product and services. You can’t just focus on the level of quality of the service itself, you have to be in tune with your customer. Customer service is important, but it is much deeper than greeting people with a smile and being polite. You need to understand the preferences of your customer and provide the experience they want. It’s not good enough to believe that if the last ten customers liked a particular service, number eleven will as well. That is an assumption with a major flaw. Customize, customize, customize.
If you truly want to make your customers happy, you have to operate more like a pizza maker than that cheeseburger joint in the SNL skit. There is a reason so many people like pizza. When it comes to pizza, the consumer gets to create the experience and taste that she wants. When you are delivering to your consumer, you will definitely grow revenues if you have a reputation for not only providing a quality product, but also the service that is specifically desired. That is why it is so important to listen to your customers and understand what they truly want. No two customers are alike. Even if they are the same age, gender, and have similar likes and dislikes, there are always nuances that make them individuals. The best companies can identify what a consumer truly wants by just paying attention. So, as you engage with your customer, make sure you are treating him with the versatility of a pizza and not just like raw meat.