|The Customer "Touch Point" in Question|
I asked for an exception on the the window frames that GM required (and for which I paid about 30% more money) when I built the facility. They are currently a "General Motors blue", but now GM wants a silver color. I asked for an exception on the gray tile that GM required when I built versus the gray tile they are now asking for. I asked for an exception on this whole notion of my office being a customer "touch point" and thus requiring the color scheme, wall prints and furniture set for by GM.
I detailed these requests in an email to my GM Zone Manager that I sent on March 23. I did not hear anything back so I sent another email last week. Finally, on April 23, one month later, I got a call from the Zone manager. He wanted to discuss my requests.
The window mullions and the floor tile were pretty straight forward requests. He asked for a couple of clarifications but the requests were pretty easy.
The office issue was a problem. In my letter to him, I made it pretty clear what my position was:
My Zone manager suggested to me that there have not been any variances on this issue and that my office was a "customer touch point" because the customer could see into the office. I replied to him that it was about time a variance was granted to someone and it just as well be me and that the point of my office design was not about the customer seeing me, but rather me seeing the customer.My office looks out onto my showroom floor so that I can see my customers come into my store. I have been told that I have two choices with regard to this particular design feature in my store. I can build a wall in front of my office so that customers cannot see into my office or I can take my family photo, my college degree and the overhead photo of my store among other items on display off my office wall. This is not an economic issue for me, this is a business practice issue. I find it deeply offensive that General Motors wants such absolute control over my facility that they would tell me what I can or cannot hang on my office wall.The Gensler representative educated me on "customer touch points" and how my office becomes a "touch point" if the customer can see into the office. My office is not a "touch point". I will see who is in my store from my office and my family photo will remain on my wall. My customers like the freedom to stick their head in my office to say “hi”. They only do that because they can see that I am in my office. Placing a wall there would be the equivalent of telling my customers that I do not have time for them and to leave me alone.
I am no interior designer but I do not think that my customers find the interior of my office offensive. In fact, if I had a nickel for every time someone told me how much they liked my desk, I wouldn't need any of GM's EBE subsidy. My desk is a centerpiece of my store. My family photo will remain on my wall as will my college diploma and my overhead photo of my store.
I told the Zone manager that I wanted him to submit the request. I want to see if General Motors will deny the request. We had a discussion about some "Vice-President of All Things EBE" at General Motors understanding the culture of my store but that did not go well and I decided to put the brakes on it.
I asked him when I would hear back on this issue, he told me it could be a week or it could be a month. So I'll just hold my breath...