What Your Business Could Learn from a Toilet

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What Your Business Could Learn from a Toilet


What do you want from them?


And don’t say you just want them to be happy or to be successful. What do you SPECIFICALLY want your prospects and customers to DO? And have you considered and applied that question to every step on their journey with you?


During a recent trip to the grocery story, I marveled at the simplicity of one specific innovation I witnessed.


Before I explain, you should know that I rarely go to the grocery store. I’m super lucky that my husband takes full ownership of the shopping/cooking experience at our house. Also, I think he secretly tries to keep me from the store for fear of me saying the phrase, “Ooooh! That candy/ice cream/bag of chips/<insert unhealthy food> looks amazing! Let’s get it!”


Having survived the trail of terrible food choices as we trekked around the store, we finally reached the checkout.


Over the last decade or two, we’ve seen a massive trend in business – especially grocery stores – pushing tasks that once belonged to them to their customers. From automated voice menus that never seem to get you to the right department to self-service checkouts, we’ve grown accustomed to this new world of DIY sales and service.


And many people like it. They like that sense of controlling their own experience and not having to wait for someone to serve them. BUT, they only like it when it WORKS and it’s EASY. This trend in self-service also means that we are expecting a LOT from our prospects and customers.


They have to know where they want to go, how to bag groceries, what buttons to push to get the right results and so on.


Virtually all organizations have had to INNOVATE their processes to accommodate their newest staff members (aka Customers). In some cases, it has been streamlining technology or creating new systems that are more user friendly. And these are, of course, great additions.


However, what I get more impressed by are the clever little innovations that we can add as businesses that surreptitiously get prospects and customers to DO SOMETHING without them feeling like they are doing your job.


A here’s a great example:


Like all good consumers these days, we have our handy dandy King Soopers grocery store key tag that ensures we get tons of discounts while mindlessly sharing all our personal buying data. It used to be that we would hand our keys to the checkout clerk who would scan it and grandly announce our $1.32 of savings.


This time, however, I noticed that there was a self-serve scanner for our loyalty card. And even better – there was a TARGET that provided some friendly encouragement (and unwritten instruction) to get your scan right the first time.




Such a LITTLE BIG BANG! It cost the store virtually nothing to add that sticker while saving their customers from frustration. GENIUS!


But wait, are you wondering what this article has to do with URINALS?


As soon as I spotted the card scanning target, I remembered an invention that was created I the early 1970s by Joel Kreiss: The Tinkle Target. What started as decal to encourage more accurate aim into the toilet has become quite the industry featuring targets ranging from the mundane (bullseye!) to the noteworthy (Urinate on your favorite politicians face!).


Of course, urinal targets are fun and funny. I won’t lie, as a girl I feel like I missed out on some entertainment here. But there is a lesson for ALL of us here when it comes to innovation:


How could you get your users/prospects/customers to take a specific action and have them enjoy it?


In other words, where could you add some bullseyes to your customer’s journey? You’ll get double the points if you can make it fun for them, too!


ps. You get triple points from me if you can figure out a way to get the guys to the put the seat up first, too!


BONUS: Here are some of my favorite toilet targets I spotted while researching this article.








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