What’s The Purpose Anymore?

I was recently driving thru Oregon and stopped for gas. Before I could get the pump started an attendant came up to me and offered his assistance. I then remembered that it is against the law to pump your own gas in Oregon. (Same is true in New Jersey I believe.)

Obviously I allowed him to proceed, whereupon he asked me if I was paying at the pump or inside. At the pump I said. He helped me navigate the somewhat different screens involved in so doing and then he was at it. I went inside to get some snacks and when I came back the car was full, the hose was back on the pump and fuel door was closed. The attendant was not there and neither was my receipt, so I left.

As I entered the roadway I noticed that my windshield was still dirty, which I had intended to clean while the I was fueling the car, but that process was changed for me. Apparently, at least at this station, they do pump your gas but don’t clean your windshield.

My question is what value does the attendant add? Answer, at least for me, nothing. However he does add to the cost of the fuel I paid for and he does have a non-value-added job.

In my opinion, non-value-added jobs are bad for the economy if they are required and bad for a company if they don’t recognize it. How could this become a value-added job? Pretty simple: look back at what those attendants did when they were the norm and people didn’t pump their own gas and do the things they did: clean the windshield, check tire pressure, ask if the oil level needs to be checked. And like my local 7-11 pump screen does, up-sell me for snacks, drinks, etc.

If the only purpose of the job is because the government mandates it, how can you turn it into an advantage for your company?


This entry was posted in competitive advantage, customer experience, customer service, Innovation, retail and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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