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Yes – sweat the small things

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Over the past week, I have visited three gas stations. Each was convenient and the price of gas was the same as other gas stations around the area. Two of the three had a food shop where customers can purchase coffee, an RC and a Moon Pie. Because the local area has had a lot of snow this winter, there was a lot of road salt on my windshield and I wanted to clean my windows. But, at each station, the buckets of window cleaners were empty and the squeegees were dry as a bone.

Gasoline is a commodity and people will search out the lowest price available. Therefore, most gas stations keep the price of gasoline close to what their competitors are offering. So, what is it that makes a customer choose one station over another? It is the little things, like the customer being able wash their windshield.

Customers may not know or even remember who has full windshield cleaners, but they do know when companies treat them well. They may be small but details are important to creating a positive customer experience and are often overlooked. A friendly hello, a “thanks for calling”, a small, unexpected gift or even an honest apology go a long way in creating a favorable customer experience. Moreover, the small extras are not that expensive. It cost nothing to say, “I apologize.” Depending on the number of pumps, a gas station may spend $25.00 per week to keep their windshield cleaners full.

When price is not an issue, customers will repeat establishments that create a positive experience. Even when price is an issue, customers are more likely to repeat business with companies that treat them well. And, sweating the details is one of the best ways of treating customers well.

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