I recently spoke with Dan Howard, a long-time friend and owner of DJ’s SCUBA Locker in the greater Chicago area. We met during a dive trip to Honduras back in the 1990’s. Dan’s business is thriving to the point he’s been able to leave the corporate world and focus on growing his SCUBA diving business.

While many SCUBA shops have failed in recent years as disposable income has dropped, Dan has focused not only on consumers but municipal entities that need support. He’s now the “go-to” guy in the Chicago area and is expanding his reach geographically. It’s what happens naturally when you are the “go-to” guy.

His competitors are continually grousing that “Dan took away my customers.” Really? Perhaps they gave them away.

Why don’t his competitors look at this appropriately: they couldn’t offer the service and value Dan’s customers wanted. They didn’t listen enough and take action to ensure they were the “go-to” SCUBA service center.

Word of mouth is powerful–I’m certain many are now Dan’s customers because of the strong endorsements he gets.

If you provide great service and a great customer experience, you, too, can be the “go-to” business like Dan and his wife, Cindy.

Thought for the week:

On millennial customers:

“They expect a digital experience. They expect it to be really easy.” — Fidelity’s Abby Johnson


Dave Gardner

Dave Gardner is a management consultant, speaker, author, and blogger based in Silicon Valley. He's been in the front row for the birth and evolution of Silicon Valley, the innovation capital of the world. Since 1992, Dave Gardner focuses on making the complex simple around people, process and technology. Dave is the author of Mass Customization: An Enterprise-Wide Business Strategy - How Build to Order, Assemble to Order, Configure to Order, Make to Order, and Engineer to Order Manufacturers Increase Profits and Better Satisfy Customers.

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