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Coke or Pepsi?

On the recommendation of a colleague, I read Gitomer’s Little Red Book. Filled with interesting ideas. Some of them are pretty good but I’m not an over the top enthusiast. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until I read the book that I realized I’d been seeing Gitomer’s column in the Business Chronicle each week. I didn’t much care for the column so the connection had been missed. Until this week when I found that Gitomer and I share a common bond: When you ask for a Coke it is not okay to bring me a Pepsi.

Gitomer’s April 23 column goes on to explain his love affair with Coke. I’ll spare the details but the point is pretty good. When the customer asks for one thing, why would you think it is okay to substitute something else. If they say color, do you think black and white will do? If they ask for it tomorrow, why do you think next week will suffice?

Customer satisfaction is the number one reason for repeat business. It’s not location, price or selection. It’s customer satisfaction. So what kind of value should you assign to delivering the highest customer satisfaction? It’s priceless. Does this mean that you should abandon your core competency and offer a product to a customer that you don’t sell? Not necessarily.

You should stick to what you are good at but you should surround yourself with great relationships so when the client says RED and you only have BLUE to offer you can easily call your associate who sells RED and either get one for your client or refer your client to your friend. Either way your client will be happy. And don’t fear losing a client because you referred them to another business. In almost every case the client will have loads more respect for the effort you made to bring them satisfaction — even if you didn’t make a $1 in the transaction — and they’ll demonstrate that respect in the loyalty they have for your business down the road.

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