Three C's of Customer Appreciation

Last Update: Jun 21, 2013

14
967 followers

Happy First Day of Summer. It's a balmy 84 degrees here at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. I'm watching the birds circling for lunch over the lake and I'm just generally being happy and feeling very successful. Yes, if you read my previous post, you know I just earned $0.34 in affiliate commissions. Of course that is outstanding news and demonstrates to me what I always knew: Kyle and Carson are correct – This Stuff Works!

While money is important – that's not what has me pumped up this week. I just received one of the three C's of customer appreciation. Let me tell you about it.

The Old Shop Keeper Who Couldn't Count

There was once an old man who had a small neighborhood grocery store. It was successful and the store had been a driving force in the neighborhood for years and years. This particular store outlived most of the stores of its type as buying preferences had changed. Customers were shopping at the big, bright, shiny stores and convenience stores. This store however lived on for several more years.

A young man worked at the store after school, sweeping the floors, stocking the shelves, sacking groceries and making at-home deliveries. If you've ever been a parent, you know there is a time (usually the teen-aged years) where the child knows everything and Mom and Dad are completely clueless.

One day, the know-it-all kid poked fun of his boss, the owner of the store. He laughed and told the old man he obviously didn't know how to count. Mrs. Jones just asked, and paid for, a dozen bananas but was given thirteen. Unrelenting, the employee told the old man he made the same mistake almost every day with lots of customers, and pointed out just how much money had been lost due to a counting error.

The old man considered what the youngster was telling him and slowly replied, 'You know Mrs. Jones could buy her bananas at the big store out on the highway, but she comes here. Why do you suppose that is?' He continued, 'I always give my customers just a little more than they expect – and that is what keeps them coming back again and again. If I gave her twelve when she paid for twelve bananas, she wouldn't feel special and might spend her money elsewhere. It isn't a mistake – it's a practice I've been following for 40 years.'

Make 'em Feel Special and Important

I heard that tale years ago and have never forgotten it. I always try to give my customers more than they expect and it keeps them feeling special. It keeps them spending money with me even if my price might be a little bit higher. I believe this is why a some people do business with the Mom and Pop shops rather than the big box stores.

In our computer business, we regularly received gifts from our happy customers. They would bring us gifts as a sign of appreciation for the outstanding value we provided them.

These things I refer to as the...

Three C's of Customer Satisfaction

  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Computers
Computers you say? Yes indeedy (is that a word)! In the technology business, we would often times tell a customer not to spend money with our repair shop if the cost of their repair was too much. We had decided years earlier not to sell new computers even though we could build them all day long.

We would tell them their money would be better spent at Dell, HP, or some other good computer manufacturer. We would forego profit today and keep our integrity.

Big Profits - No Cost

We had so many people donate their old retired, computers to us. We would combine parts from several broken machines to make one good one. We became known as a repair center, and a seller of good, guaranteed used computers. We made a fortune selling used PC's cheap. It became one of our biggest profit centers.

This wouldn't have been possible if we hadn't given them something extra, like the 13th banana.

I still repair computers in my area. My target market is usually senior citizens. I follow that same philosophy of giving something extra. One of my favorite customers gave me a relatively new laptop computer because she just bought a new one. It works perfectly (of course, I repaired it)!

The 3 C's still work, but I haven't gotten any cookies lately.

Kali

Recent Comments

26

Kalli, you never cease to amaze me. Love your stories and how you weave them into the theme of your blog. No wonder they pay you the big bucks! :):)

Big Bucks, yeah that's the ticket. I think I'll see if they will double my pay. 2 x 0 = 0. Yes, I am on my way to the big time, indeed. Seriously, I am really pleased the way this stuff works just by following the advice of people who have been there and done it.

This is such a great place to be!

Kali

Yup, excellent story about integrity and quality customer service/satisfaction... loved your computer store story, too! I absolutely love building PC's.

I hate computers as a toy. I don't play games or do much more than WA and school stuff. I don't think I should really hate something that has made me so much money. OK - reevaluating my comment - I love computers! :)

Too funny.... software drives me nuts but I love throwing the hardware together and waiting for that first single "Beep"!

Single beep, as opposed to that multiple cadence beep indicating hardware problems! The thing is, most retail customers don't seem to have a problem paying for hardware repairs, but software help is expected to be free.

Oh man Kali, EXACTLY! I've spent days trying to figure out software problems, hours upon hours of researching and googling issues. Hardware problems... take of the cover, unscrew it, put on new one in and flip the switch! (Well, you get the drift!) Man, do I feel your pain, Kali! LOL!!!

Hi Kali,
Excellent story with a moral we should be emulating. Love the photo you picked out to illustrate!
Best to you,
Victoria

The photo was one I downloaded from Google Images, I think I know about 40 old men that look just like this. It is a shame we don't take our older citizens more seriously. They can teach us so much.

Wonderful stories Kali... It is what is missing from most businesses today and something
consumer are hungry for. It is those qualities people will drive the extra mile to do business with those that take care of them. Thanks for sharing

Business is easy. Just look for what is missing and fill that need.

The extra mile. honesty and truly caring for others. Your right that's what is truly missing in today's big business. Remember the full service gas station? I miss those days.

I worked at one of those full service gas stations when I was in high school. We did mechanical work too. People thought I actually knew something about repairing their car. What a joke.

Great job and so true. It doesn't take much: recognition goes a very long way. Thanks for the good-sensible story. Anyone who follows you, Kal, will learn a lot. Thanks again.

Thanks.

Great job Kali! This reminds me of the small mom and pop stores that used to be around when I was really young. There are a couple of them around here yet actually, some of the clerks have been there since I was just a kid and it always feels more welcoming to go there even if it might cost a bit more than the big stores. It kind of feels like visiting a friend. These places have a special feeling about them. :)

Yep, I love those places and will shop there if at all possible.

Great read. It's so true -- giving customers more than they expect earns trust and friendship, and is just the right thing to do, period. :-) Hope you're having a great day!

Thanks for the kind words of support. This is so cool!

Great read, Kali. Customers DO remember that 'little bit extra'. As for cookies, you've probably got more than you realize, right there on your relatively new laptop. :-)

I am actually glad I don't get those cookies any more. I was putting on way too much weight.

Yeah, I really miss the great Mom and Pop shops of my youth. There was always a certain magic in the air when you entered them. You described the essence behind that magic so well, Kali. In this world of "I'm in it for me" and "I'm in it to make as much $$ as I can for me," we all would do best to heed your words of wisdom. I'm positive there are still plenty of folks out there who would love to have the charm put back into customer relations. I know I would!

Cookies? Well, I guess you may have to settle for the "cookies" still stuck to the computers you get for repair. That's something, right? :o)

Great post as always, Sir!

~Marie

After I wrote that blog, I was talking to my Park Ranger buddies here at the lake. We were talking about neighborhood candy stores, and penny candy. I remember my dad giving me 50 cents so I could go to the candy store.

Dad told me to be sure to bring him change.

I came home with a huge bag of candy, no change - and a future trip to the dentist.

Thanks for your kind remarks, Marie.

Kali

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