Planning for Strategic Growth
Greg Parker on his plans for the next decade and how he intends to become a multibillion-dollar company.
I’m also a big fan of PeopleMatter, a recruiting, training and on-boarding program that helps us manage staff and optimize productivity. In fact, I believe in this technology so much, we’ve decided to invest in it personally. PeopleMatter allows us to exchange information with our team about special offers or deliver an “atta boy” for a job well done. Our employees can ask for days off or make specific scheduling requests through this user-friendly platform, which has resulted in reduced turnover and increased team communication.
I’m not a technology guru by any means, but I do understand the consumer and am always focused on how to deliver the ultimate experience to Parker’s customers. My biggest strength is finding solutions. I’m relationship-driven and tend to work best by finding smart technology partners and making the most of that relationship. I’m not afraid to challenge people to push the boundaries of technology to find new and innovative solutions to meet consumers’ changing needs.
Right now I’m focused on KickBack Rewards and cultivating loyalty through real-time offers delivered on customers’ cellphones as they set foot on a Parker’s property. It’s amazing how many opportunities technology presents for us to engage our customers. Pat and Renee Lewis, the force behind KickBack Rewards Systems, are two of the brightest minds in the industry and are making an invaluable contribution with their state-of-the-art technology.
In addition, National Payment Corp. (NPC) has been an important technology partner, helping us with our customer loyalty program and with the creation of our PumpPal card, a branded debit card offering our customers up to 10 cents off on every gallon of gas. Instead of paying fees to credit-card companies, we made a conscious decision to put that money back in the pockets of our customers.
Since the PumpPal program’s inception in 2011, we’ve saved Parker’s customers nearly $3 million. Plus, we think we have the highest incidence of use of any proprietary debit card in the industry, and that’s an achievement we’re proud of.
Commitment to Quality
At Parker’s, quality isn’t a program, an initiative or a motto—it’s our operating model. Everything we do, from ordering inventory to managing POS transactions, is based on a commitment to top quality.
So how do we ensure this core competency as we seek a bullish growth strategy?
- We expect our staff to behave like owners, not employees. It’s important that our team members buy into our company’s growth strategy. We underscore the importance of growing together and encourage an owner mindset. When employees show up for work with an owner mindset, they are personally invested in quality. Get everyone on board with the growth plan early in the process to ensure success.
- We reward excellence. At Parker’s, we believe in rewarding employees and encouraging upward mobility within our organization. We have a commitment and a legacy of building talent and reducing turnover. Most of our management team has worked at Parker’s for 20 years or more.
- We identify key metrics for success. When you make success measurable, you make it achievable. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I’m metric-centric. I worship data and spend a lot of my time analyzing numbers, comparing metrics and learning from the information we all have available at our fingertips. Develop a scorecard for success and keep evaluating your company’s performance in key areas.
- We establish systems to ensure quality. At Parker’s, we have processes that facilitate individual quality accountability, as well as consequences for failure to deliver to expected standards. We do not tolerate poor quality in any area of our business and take swift action to remedy quality issues.
- We communicate with our team.Our company is only as good as our team members. When we are in a growth mode, it’s critical to keep lines of communication open and to develop new methods for communicating information to our employees.
- We keep our brand strong. Let’s face it: We’re all operating in a crowded marketplace with an oversupply of product. Profit margins can be razor-thin. If we don’t define our brand, someone else will define it for us. Ultimately, our brand is our promise to our customers. And that’s a promise we have to work hard to fulfill every day.
- We cultivate loyalty. We can have the greatest company in the world, but if we don’t have loyal customers, we don’t have a solid business model or the potential for growth. I believe one of the keys to our success at Parker’s is our emphasis on loyalty. More than ever, it’s important to forge an emotional connection with consumers. Customers have so many choices in today’s marketplace. Developing an emotional connection creates the “stickiness” that keeps our customers coming back.
- We embrace technology. It gives us a competitive edge and serves as an important tool for growth. Technology also helps better serve our customers, maximize sales and create a sense of community around the Parker’s brand.
- We remember to give back. No matter how big our company is, we know it’s important to give back to the communities that support us. Our Fueling the Community Program gives back 1 cent of every gallon of gas sold on the first Wednesday of the month to area schools. We live in an age of empathy. Customers prefer to patronize companies that support their communities and are connected to the places where they do business.