The Thank You Economy: Book Excerpt
I've had people tell me that though they like what I do and live in my town, they buy from the other guy's liquor store because he's been good to them. I say, "I'm cheaper and I have a way better selection and I'll be good to you, too! Heck, I'll be better!" but I can't win, because a relationship has already been formed.
I can compete on price, I can compete on convenience, and if they'd give me the chance I'd compete on caring, too. But they're not going to give me that chance unless the other guy slips up. And even then they'd probably give him a second chance, because forgiveness is the hallmark of a good relationship. If I kept pounding I might be able to win a percentage of my competitor's business, but the little guy in town will keep his consumer's market share with real caring and service.
Anyone working for a big company might be skeptical that a large business, or even a strictly online business, can form the same kind of friendly, loyal relationship with customers as a local retailer. I'm saying it's already been done because I lived it. I built my online company the same way I built the brick-and-mortar store. But it works only if everybody at the company gets on board, which is why unless you are building a new company from the ground up and can install caring as your business's cornerstone, you have to be willing to embark on a complete cultural overhaul so that, like a local mom-and-pop shop, every employee is comfortable engaging in customer service, and does it authentically. Your engagement has to be heartfelt, or it won't work.
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