Thursday, June 09, 2011

An ace up your sleeve

I've just read the article "The Unfair Advantage" by Graham McGregor (not to be confused with Ewan). Graham is a marketing consultant and his advice is good solid lateral thinking stuff. It's about going the extra mile for your customer, and in doing so, exploring niches that your competitors failed to spot.

To his list of ideas, I'd like to add a few of my own.

Turning "fail" into "sale"
The other week, dissatisfied with the quality, I returned a pair of children's shoes to Pumpkin Patch. After a summer of wear (perhaps 30 times all in all, and for a few hours at a time), the soles had developed holes and had separated from the upper shoe. Some shops might have tried to argue "wear and tear", but Pumpkin Patch simply gave me my money back. I didn't even have the receipt - they just relied on the fact that the shoe line was less than a year old and was only sold through them. Did they manage to retain me as a customer? Did I spend more money at Pumpkin Patch that day than they refunded for the shoes? You bet. And, you bet.

Go below your quote
My local panelbeater, Trevor Hanson of the Trevor Hanson Collision Centre, deserves all the customers he can cope with. Not only did he honour a quote that was more than 6 months old (what can I say, I'm slow to care for my car), he also managed to complete the job for about 25% less than agreed.

Give free advice
This happened to me more times than I can recall, so I'll just quote one example. An insulation expert told me exactly how to insulate the front door, where to get the materials and how to glue them on. The result? Satisfied that he knew exactly what he was talking about, I paid him to do the job.

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