Posts Tagged 'gas shortage'

Great Customer Service Siting: Mapco

Here in middle TN, hurricane Gustav has caused a gas shortage.  Very few stations have any gas.  The ones that do have extremely long lines, policemen directing traffic and even breaking up fights. 

So I set out a little after 7:00 am on Saturday to hunt down some gasoline.  I found a Mapco near my house that had gas, along with two long lines of cars coming from two different sides of the station.  I got in line. 

Now let me paint a picture for you…  There are twelve pumps.  Cars are lined up maybe twenty cars back in each line.  One line of cars comes from the front of the station, one from the rear entrance.  Different cars have tanks on different sides, adding to the chaos.  Even when your turn arrived, gas trickled out very slowly.  People are not quite themselves.  There is just something about 9 out of 10 gas stations being out of gas that gives you an eerie feeling.  There is also a very good chance that the station could run out of gas while you are in line or even once you start pumping your gas and you have to start the process all over.  I was prepared for the worst.

But I want you to know that Mapco had two employees out early in orange vests.  They weren’t just directing traffic, they were in charge.  They were smiling.  They were shouting updates to each other from different sides of the parking lot.  “You’ve got room from two over here!”,  I would hear.  Air traffic controllers had nothing on these two Mapco employees.  They were talking to people in the line, letting them know their turns were coming and which pump they would go to.  People weren’t fighting, or even cutting each other off in line.  They were laughing and talking about the day’s events. 

It was really an enjoyable process to watch these two Mapco employees take charge, that instead of dreading the next four or five hours until they ran out of gas, they stepped up with enthusiasm.  They set expectations and met them.  People in line knew their turns would come and that they didn’t need to push their way through to get treated fairly.  Not only was I impressed with their teamwork and attitudes, but it reminded me that even in situations where emotions are volatile and their is a tinge of fear in the air, people respond to leadership that is confident and enthusiastic.

Take Away:  In volatile or uncertain situations, take your communication skills up a notch and people will follow your lead.

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