The case for old-fashioned values


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The Americans are generally not known for their appreciation of old-fashioned values, but we should be careful not to generalise. The following story shows that exceptions do exist, and we can learn from them.

What prompts this profound statement is a personal experience related by US marketing guru Scott Hornstein. In what seemed to be an ordinary everyday transaction, Hornstein had purchased a pair of running shoes. After he had paid for the purchase at the checkout counter, something extraordinary happened.
The store’s owner came over, looked Hornstein straight in the eye, shook his hand and said with obvious sincerity: “Thank you, Sir; I appreciate your business and hope to see you again!”

The mere fact that Hornstein should rate this incident as an extraordinary experience is an indictment of society in general and modern marketing techniques in particular. Our world is filled with talk of CRM and customer-centricity and all the other terms we use to profess our interest in customers, but is this real? Clearly not, or Hornstein’s experience wouldn’t have made such an impact on him.

Hornstein is right, of course, in our efforts to push up sales with the help of computers, databases and complex incentive schemes, we have forgotten how human relationships really work. A simple ‘Thank you’, proffered with sincerity, is far more powerful than the use of fancy marketing techniques and the gadgetry that goes with it. It is therefore far more likely to bring the customer back to your store. It will also make you a happier person.

Next time you talk to a customer, try it. You will be pleasantly surprised at the response you get, and what it does for ‘word-of-mouth’ referrals.

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