My wife needed to buy a present for a christening a couple of weeks ago.

She wanted good quality and reliability and thought of a shop called Halfhide in Wimbledon which her mother used to visit.

She walked in and an assistant politely asked her if she could help and began to help her choose. It was up to this point a good, generic retail experience.

Then the owner walked in. He looked at my wife and said, “Now don’t I know you?”

“Don’t you have two sisters?

That’s right, you went to Wimbledon High School,

didn’t you marry a guy from Wimbledon College?

and haven’t you got children now?

And Judy – she has moved to Australia right?

Now when was the last time I saw you?”

My wife replied, “….about 20 years ago.”

“Well give my best to your mother and family, now how can we help you?”

This feat of mental CRM was so impressive my wife has told many people. This small business owners interest in and care for his customers has delivered loyalty through generations of families.

Now why can’t big businesses replicate this experience? Because they are big, aren’t interested and don’t care. They throw money at the problem and spend millions on complex CRM systems but it’s not just the knowledge that matters, it’s the attitude that goes with it.

The CRM relational database might be easier to manage, develop and measure, but it’s the relationship quality that makes the difference. Where is the balance of effort and expense in your business – on the system or the people?

If you have a great or poor customer services story please leave a comment below.



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Justin Basini

Entrepreneur, author of Why Should Anyone Buy From YOU?, blogger (www.basini.com), business, brand and marketing thinker and do-er, husband and dad

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