A free dinner at the Four Seasons is hard to pass upeven in a good economy. But, hey, thats not the only reason I was at the Toronto location a few months back. I was there for the Marketing Hall of Legends, an annual event that recognizes some of the industrys top professionals (while generating a healthy dose of publicity for Mandrake, the Toronto-based executive search company that co-founded the event.)
While nursing a Heineken, I spoke with the mattress king, Stephen K. Gunn, the co-founder, CEO and chairman of Sleep Country Canada. Funny guy. He told me he and his colleagues once considered putting zippers in their beds, so people afraid to invest in the market could actually stuff their mattresses with cash.
Gunn, who was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Legends in 2005, shared one of Sleep Countrys keys to success: his organization puts a ton of focus on the delivery experience, since its customers last and often lasting impression of the company. When it comes to hiring for this role, he said, its more about picking people with pleasant personalities and the right attitude rather than experience driving a van. In fact, Gunn recalls in the early days turning away truckers with decades in the transportation industry, because of how housewives might respond to them in their homes.
Gunn insists Sleep Countrys focus on delivery is one reason it has become Canadas market share leader in mattresses. The way he puts it, We get a customer in the store but get the customers friends and family members during delivery.
Whats your customers last experience with your company?