So I'm at this big information technology conference the past couple of days and during one of the breaks I bump into one of the attendees.
No one special, he says of himself. Just an average guy. But apparently an average guy with a lot of money.
Unfortunately he's lost some of that money in these crazy markets. But he isn't angry at this broker. You know why? Because he loves his broker. He calls him "a real stand-up guy."
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Pointing his finger at my chest, he tells me, "that's what it's all about, Neil. Treating people well."
"I can deal with rough markets," he says. "I can't deal with rude people."
So he keeps track of the little things.
How often is he put on hold? How long is he put on hold? How soon before someone gives him an answer? Little things that are big things.
And it got me thinking: The best businesses today pay attention to little things like that. Like not keeping their customers waiting or stewing.
The legendary Sam Walton of Wal-Mart told me 20 years ago, just as his stores were becoming legend that people will shop for good prices, but they'll stay for good service. It’s a pity not all his followers are listening today.
But many are. Scores of businesses pouring a lot of money even now into the little things that'll make a difference.
The insurance company that beefs up its customer support lines so that no caller will have to wait more than 15 seconds to talk to a service rep. Or the retailer building up its inventory technology to make sure no item is ever out of stock, ever.
These things cost a lot to do. But they cost a lot more not to do.
Sure, they're a lot easier to do in good times. But your customers will never forget how you treated them in bad times.
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