Last week Pamela Hayes, NATSO’s vice president strategic partnerships, and I had the pleasure of spending five quality hours with NATSO member Bobby Berkstresser at his two truckstops, Lee Hi Travel Plaza and White's Travel Center, LLC. The majority of our time was spent at White's Travel Center, LLC.
Both locations are top examples of cleanliness, efficiency and effective service. There are so many amazing positive programs, processes and procedures taking place that create a wonderful customer experience.
Among all these sights, smells and sounds that you experience at White’s, there is one that really stood out for me. It was all the flowers. Entering the White’s location you are greeted by well-groomed grass, awesome landscaping and artistically placed boulders and rocks. And then, there are the flowers! Flowers of all types are everywhere.
Sitting and watching customers fuel, both at the diesel islands and the gasoline islands you notice that something is different about them. When trash falls to the ground, customers scurry to pick it up and place it in the trash bin like they are being watched by the fairy landscaping mother and they do not want to disappoint her. They take care to place the truck brush and squeegees back properly into the wash bin.
It also seems to me that they are smiling and speaking with one another a lot more then what I have witnessed over the past 25 years of observing or cleaning fuel islands.
This positive attitude continues into the main buildings where customers shop and buy merchandise at an incredibly brisk pace.
I will not share any sales numbers, but White’s is mirroring the retail sales of Petro locations before 2007. These locations grew their retail business by double digits every month for the past 18 months, according to Bobby. That level of growth is a monumental accomplishment in our competitive truckstop world.
Well groomed flowers, plants, trees and shrubs cannot be escaped anywhere you stop to look or catch a breath and while certainly the perfect landscaping is not the only reason for this happy customer, the strategy of excellence in landscaping certainly is a portion of it. If I heard it once, I heard it multiple times from customers during those five informative hours with Bobby… “This place has the nicest arrangements of flowers and some of the best landscaping I have seen on the interstate. It makes me feel so comfortable.”
The next time you are looking to differentiate yourself from the competition, you may want to consider flowers. Take Bobby’s word for it – the rewards you will reap will outweigh the costs you will incur of adding clean, approachable and inviting landscaping.
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- Best Truckstop Customer Service Tips
- Ten Ways to Get Customers to Come Inside From the Fuel Islands
- Take Flight with a Merchandising and Marketing Checklist
- One-A-Day Truckstop Marketing
/// Read more Truckstop Travels here.
Photo Credit: Darren Schulte/NATSO
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