Finding and Modelling Excellence in Unexpected Places !

By Florence Madden

Meet Nathalie Rimoux with a house guest at Comme À La Maison, Nantes

Seeing anyone doing something well, even if you don’t aspire to do whatever it is yourself, is a thing of beauty…..and of learning !

The core of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) is being the best version of yourself, and the process of modelling excellence in yourself and others can help you achieve that. So we can take models of excellence in any field and draw learnings from it that we can apply in our own lives… and you know excellence can pop up in the most unexpected places !

As I write this we are in France for the Rugby World Cup.

Before the Ireland v Tonga game I needed and found a dog sitter for my 3 dogs. Luckily, I found Nathalie Rimoux of ‘Comme À La Maison (Anim Hotel)’, on the outskirts of Nantes.

From the first contact by text Nathalie was friendly and helpful and even before we spoke I felt we had built a strong rapport. She knew we were unfamiliar with the area and offered to come to collect our dogs from the campsite.  When we went to pick them up from her the next day, we were delighted to find them happily playing in her home with other dogs and with her young family.

We were welcomed as old friends, and as a dog behaviourist she also gave us some advice in handling Ferdi’s unwanted behaviours. Overall, it was a hugely positive experience for people who hate to put our dogs in kennels at any time.  I have since reflected a lot on what was different about the service we received. I think Nathalie’s approach – her business model in effect – has a lot to teach/remind any business, and in essence it comes down to this:

  1. Build Rapport: rapport has been defined as ‘trust and confidence’ and she instilled this in us from the start.
  2. Focus on the customer’s needs, not simply what service she was offering: she took time to understand what we wanted and with it was mindful of our concerns too. She knew we needed reassurance and not simply a safe place for our dogs.
  3. Confidence in her own skills and knowledge: she knew her stuff about dogs and specifically how to integrate our nervy 3-year-old safely with other dogs and children.
  4. Her service does ‘what it says on the tin’: it isn’t a marketing illusion, our dogs were welcomed into her home and treated like family (Comme À La Maison = Like Home).
  5. Giving a little extra: as a dog behaviourist she gave us some useful advice in a friendly and respectful way.
  6. Asked for a review: it is tempting to wait and see if a customer gives feedback or a review, and often people can be very happy with a service but not do this. She specifically asked if we would put a review on Google and we did just that.
  7. Maintain the relationship: since leaving Nantes we have heard from her, sending pictures and giving us some help in finding dog sitters for the Paris leg of our rugby tour. It feels like we have made a friend – and as this article shows, I am very happy to keep promoting her business.

In my opinion this is a useful model for any business and one I am happy to measure my own business against – and hope I meet Nathalie’s standards!!
And if you are ever looking for doggy care in Nantes:
Comme À La Maison: +33 6 62 53 71 63