Yesterday, I bought a brand new pair of running shoes. The shoes I wear retail for $140, and I buy 4-5 pairs per year. Accounting for the other running gear that I purchase I probably represent about $900 worth of business annually. I live in Reno, home of the largest sporting goods store in the world, but I choose to buy my running gear at the locally owned specialty store. I do this because I believe in supporting local business.
As I was getting ready to check out yesterday, a pair of socks caught my eye and I asked the sales employee about sizes. He didn’t have my size in the style I wanted, but he suggested another style and since they were not exactly what I wanted, he gave me the $9 pair of socks for free. I left impressed and committed to return the next time I need a pair of running shoes.
But it almost turned out very differently.
The night before yesterday I pulled up to the store at 5:57 pm. I parked my big red SUV right in front of the store’s entrance. Not knowing they closed at 6 pm, I took a call on my cell phone. As I got out of my car to enter the store, the employee working at the time locked the door and hastily disappeared from sight (no way he missed seeing me). I was very unhappy, so much so that I plotted to abandon my loyalty to the local store and take my business to the big-box retailer.
How do you explain what happened? Was it something about me, something about the two different employees, or something about the store’s policies and processes that one day left me disgusted and the next day impressed?
How YOU answer this question affects how you run your business. Especially in a tough economy, it could mean the difference between evaporating revenue and a stable, even thriving business.