I realize that the above title…well, yes…it’s been used by others. Actually, it may be one of the most popular topics out there. But, what is more disturbing than the fact that I’m writing about the obvious…is the fact that for most companies – it’s just not that obvious. Case in point – think about a small business for a minute. With the advent of web-based purchasing through multiple vehicles, being able to move your product through a multitude of different venues may gain volume, but does it really gain customer loyalty for repeat purchases? How long can a company sustain itself on one-time purchases – purchased made only once, not because customers had a bad experience, but because they didn’t have an experience worth remembering?

More importantly, how can doing just a few little things make for an experience that differentiates your company from your competition, and keep your company in the forefront of your customers purchasing decisions? It doesn’t take much – it just means putting a little care and thought into the experience you provide them.

Here’s an example. There is a music performer from Hawaii. OK…yes…I enjoy music from local, Hawaiian artists. Anyway, there is a group that has been popular for over 30 years, and one of the guys in the group is a very talented musician called Henry Kapono. For the first time in his career, he’s done an album in the Hawaiian language…but a little differently. Think Jimi Hendrix-like sounds, but the lyrics are in Hawaiian.

So, I go to iTunes to see if I can download it. It’s not carried there, but I find his website,
www.henrykapono.com. I order his new CD, “The Wild Hawaiian”. Well, for $2 more, I can get a signed copy. So…I ordered it. A few days later, it came in the mail. Not only was the invoice receipt hand signed with a “Mahalo, Dave!”, but the CD itself was signed by Henry, and wrapped in kapa cloth. Very nice, personal touch.

What does this matter? Well…from now on, because his people care about his product, and take the little bit of extra time and effort to make a difference – I won’t download future music from him via iTunes (or any other download vehicle) – I’ll order from him directly. I’m sure he makes a bit more profit, as the cost of doing this over a standard download from anybody else was almost double. But, because he and his people care – well, it makes me care as well, and he’s got a customer for life. (Or…at least until I have a bad experience buying from his site).

So…yes – it can be profitable to do a little extra! And…it makes your customers want to buy from you more than once!

And…by the way…Henry’s music ROCKS! 🙂