Recently during a trip to Nashville, I had the opportunity to visit the North American headquarters of Nissan. When I first approached the building, it seemed normal enough to me. Of course, I spent 28 years driving up to an automaker and believe it or not, they are not all that different.
But wait — something here seemed very different. A bunch of vehicles were all lined up under a carport area out front. All the cars were basically the same except for the color. The one odd thing was that each of them had a big fat electrical cord plugged into the hood. Of course, this is not really that astonishing. They were all Nissan Leafs and were being charged.
I guess what was so out of the normal plane for me was to see them en masse. It was like an electrical gas station of sorts. Upon arrival inside the building, I was told that that was provided for the employees as a benefit for those who chose to drive a Leaf. Pretty nice perk, if you ask me.
I have not had a job for quite awhile that provided me with free fill-ups. I also noticed another strange thing at the front of the building. There were these pull-up charging stations available. They were for visiting Nissan Leaf owners who needed a quick boost. I was told that during weekends, retail owners were known and allowed to stop by for a charge while shopping. Wait, what?
Now that’s what I call a surprise and delight for the end-user. That would really enhance an owner’s experience if that was available in their area.
We are in a highly competitive market that has technology and change coming at us at the speed of light. We’re expected to stay ahead of that technology and be the source for the parts and the information. This is a huge undertaking. But, what about the surprise and delight? Prices will only get to a certain level and will no longer be a differentiator. The successful companies our world will be the ones that can set themselves apart from the rest.
What strategy will your organization use? Information, training, cataloging, ease of ordering? We better have something up our sleeve. It will be our future. Start thinking about how your organization can set itself apart from the competition. Truly the leaves are turning.
Those of us here at Counterman magazine wish all of you a happy and prosperous new year and thank for being a loyal reader.