Little things mean a lot
Earlier today I was at a wholesale plumbing supply company in Tualatin, Oregon. I was searching for a sensor device that you hook up to a garden hose to scare away deer. I had bought one there a year or two ago, so I was pretty sure they sold them. When I walked in, I immediately noticed that they had made several changes in their counter layout and floor plan. It appeared that they have reorganized in a way that they can operate with fewer staff. They seemed just as busy as any of the times I have shopped there before. I also noticed off to the left of where I walked in something that hadn't been there before – a red and yellow popcorn machine. One of the contractors at the counter who was waiting for his parts was enjoying a bag of popcorn. After I placed my order, I went over and got myself a bag and filled it with popcorn. When the counterperson came back with my deer decoy, I jokingly said, "You know, with this popcorn, I wish the service was a little slower." We both laughed. I paid for my deer decoy and walked out, popcorn bag in hand. As I walked outside, a contractor was getting out of his pickup truck. He looked over at me and said, "Is there any popcorn left?" "A little," I said. Hmm, maybe there's something going on here, what do you think? This contractor has many choices about where to buy his pipe, sprinklers, fittings and tools. He clearly had the popcorn in mind when he made his choice.
The real question this incident raises is this - What extra mile things are you doing to entice your customers to choose you? What are you doing to help your customers enjoy the wait? There are invariably waits in all businesses. What are you doing to make your customers look forward to coming back?
The second chapter in Repeat Business – 6 Steps to Superior Customer Service is "E - Extra Mile." Chapter 1, the "R" in
Repeat Business, stands for reliability. We make the point that all relationships are based on trust and reliability. The primary way we build trust is by demonstrating our reliability. We erode trust by breaking our agreements and failing to deliver as promised. The first "E" in Repeat Business stands for "Extra Mile." After proving ourselves by being reliable in our increasingly competitive marketplace, you must find ways to go the extra mile. The "extra mile" are those value-added things you do beyond what has been contractually agreed to, beyond your "normal" offerings, that the customer sees as "free." You may never have thought of giving away free popcorn as going the extra mile, and yet it is. It's not in the contract, it's not in the agreement, and certainly there's no requirement for free popcorn. As you find ways, little ways, to help your customers make you their first choice, you will win again and again.
6 Steps to Tap Your True Potential— Repeat Business tells you how in straightforward, plain language and colorful anecdotes how to treat people so they will keep coming back as satisfied customers. Written by the author who has trained more than 100,000 business managers in the United States, Africa, Italy, Canada, and Great Britain, Repeat Business has been hailed as the business success book for the 21st Century---
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