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Posted July 11, 2019

What's your motivation?

Rich VurvaOne recent Sunday morning, I did something I very rarely do, which is go to McDonald’s for breakfast. Since the last time I’d visited our local McDonald’s (yes, our town is small enough that we have just one), the restaurant had been remodeled. There are now kiosks in front of the counter, giving customers a choice between ordering the old-fashioned way by talking to an employee, or placing their own order on a kiosk.

Because there were no other customers in line ahead of me, I went to the counter. I figured that I could tell someone what I wanted to eat faster than it would take me to learn how to use the new kiosk ordering system.

Later, while enjoying my breakfast of hotcakes and sausage, I observed the manager of the restaurant greeting customers as they entered by asking, “Would you like to learn how to order on our new kiosks?” Most said no and a few decided to give them a try. I suspect that some of the people who tried the new system were doing so because they didn’t want to disappoint the manager (we’re kind of friendly like that here in the Midwest).

I think the mistake the manager made was not understanding what motivates customers. The manager was motivated by a desire to get more people to order via the kiosks because that would mean she’d need fewer employees working at the counter, which would lower her payroll costs. Customers are interested in getting their food as quickly as possible. If the manager had waited until the restaurant was busy, and customers had to choose between standing in line at the counter or ordering at the kiosk, she might have had more takers.

If you want to change someone’s behavior, it’s helpful to understand what motivates that person to act in the way they act. That’s a subject that Jason Bader covers in his article “Motivational Interviewing,” that begins on page 44. He talks about an interesting technique he learned that can be helpful when negotiating with customers, or trying to encourage a change in employee behavior.

Rich Vurva
Twitter: @IndSupplyMag

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Industrial Supply magazine. Copyright 2019, Direct Business Media.


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