Let's face it. People aren't perfect. We destroy first impressions and even long term relationships more times than we want to or are even aware of doing. Companies do this as well, being run by... well, humans.
Let's look at Domino's. Because I love pizza, and talking about any thing that has to do with that topic makes me happy.
Have you ever eaten at Domino's? Ten years ago, my husband and I were faithful customers, went once or twice a week. Then the product went downhill and there was a definite lack in quality, a change if you will. We gave it more than one chance to redeem itself, but quickly lost interest and found another pizza place.
Domino's went off the radar, at least for us. I found out they were still open and I was shocked. Seriously? They had been so unimpressive back then, I was surprised they'd survived. This was a few years ago. We tried it again, out of curiousity and cursed the wasted money.
I'd have rather had a DiGiorno.
But something happened. I'm not sure what triggered it, but suddenly I'm seeing commercials about how Domino's wants to be better, do better, serve better, taste better, cost better (that sounds awkward). What the heck? This place was still around?
I refused to try them. I'd gone down that road. I'd been burned. More times than I cared to count. And for me, that's saying something. I value each and every meal. It's one of the reasons I cook the way I do. I don't care if the food tastes good to anyone else, just to me, because I'm the one that I have to impress - and if you know anything about me, you know I'm my harshest critic.
But what happened with Domino's? Why am I talking about this pizza place that I'd given up on as hopeless? I gave in. Last summer I was down to about $20 in my pocket for my family's date night and had no idea what to do. Pizza Hut was priced way too high for what we wanted and I didn't want to drive to the next town over for Costco's pizza (seriously, holy crap, their deli Supreme is AMAZING! not the take 'n' bake but the made there one, wowser. WOWSER - but that's a different post). I have a family of 6, the oldest kid being 7 (almost 8) and they eat like teenagers, we need big pizzas to keep us going through dinner and then for late night snacks for Dad.
I picked up the mail. A collection of those weekly ads fell into my lap, the outer one a Domino's coupon collection. They had some prices I could handle and, much to my surprise, a franchise was right down the street and around the corner from me. Fine. I grumbled about it, but called and ordered.
Picking it up 20 minutes later, I growled some more. I didn't want Domino's. My kids wouldn't care, they eat the frozen cardboard crap if I buy it for them simply because it looks like pizza. But I would care. Me. And my palette is much more discerning than theirs. I planned on eating a can of Spaghetti O's instead. Yeah, discerning, right?
Okay, so I picked up the pizza. Great customer service. Loved it. But I couldn't eat the service. I had to go home with the product and try it which I didn't plan on doing.
At home, plates already out, family sitting at the table, I served up the Hawaiian and the pepperoni and black olive pizzas I'd ordered. We blessed it.
I held back on eating the piece that waited, still steaming, on my plate. Everyone took a bite. Even the 1 year old. Suddenly, the dining room was filled with a quiet frenzy as the pizza slices disappeared and I was bombarded with requests for more. And MORE. In minutes, literally, there wasn't any left, except for my as-yet-untouched Hawaiian slice.
What the heck had happened? I picked it up and tried it. And holy cow, DOMINO'S STEPPED IT UP. They changed. Their product improved. It had flavor from the tip of the triangle to the very last morsel of the crust. The sauce was amazing, more flavor than I'd ever remembered, even when we were first enamored with the place. The toppings were fresh and plentiful.
I grabbed the phone and added them to my speed dial. We eat there almost every week now. They stepped it up. They improved their product and made sure they let their customers know it. They even priced items to make sure those that had left, came back, at least for one more go. And I'm back. Amazing their improvements they made.
I'm drooling just thinking about it.
But what does this have to do with authors or people in general?
When was the last time you looked at your product and thought "I can do better" and then sought what needed to be improved? Or asked yourself what you could do better that day - anything.
Have we wondered how to draw in those customers or more people into our lives? Have we worked on changing our product/actions for the better?
Domino's has inspired me. More than you know. I've always been into improving my craft and increasing my readership, but for what? Now I realize, my writing is like my cooking - I have to be impressed or no one else will be. And, this sounds terrible, but I never have anyone complain about my cooking. Maybe I need to make sure my writing is like my lasagna - layered with unimaginable goodness!
If you haven't tried Domino's lately, do. They've done what I dream of doing - making a transformation.