A customer is the most important visitor on our premises; he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so. ~ Mahatma Gandhi


Early Saturday morning, as I was installing new string in my Weed Eater, my dog ate a critical part of the tool. Really.

In order to finish my weekend project, I had to run to the lawn equipment store where I’d purchased the Weed Eater for a replacement part.

Have you ever walked into a store and felt invisible?

Well, as I entered no one acknowledged my existence.

Unnoticed, I made my way to the parts & (inappropriately named) service area where, wonder of wonders, I encountered a store employee. But any hope for a better experience was dashed.

As he scowled in my direction, I interpreted his mumble to be an inquiry as to what I wanted. Determined, I explained exactly what I needed. This seemed to annoy him even more than the fact that I had clearly interrupted his morning, and he curtly informed me the store didn’t have the part I needed.

Unspoken was the inferred “now please leave, and let me get back to more important matters.”

As I walked out of the store, I realized that on my two previous visits to the same store – including the day I purchased the Weed Eater — I had experienced the same level of indifference.


Determined to finish my project, I drove about a mile down the road to Top Gunn Rental. As I walked through the door, a smiling employee greeted me, and let me know he’d be with me as soon as he finished assisting his current customer.

As it turned out, Top Gunn Rental didn’t have the Weed Eater part in stock; but the young clerk quickly presented a solution. He took the part out of a larger assembly, saying he didn’t want me to have to go to the trouble of driving back to the store. Ready for the punch line?  We’re talking about a 78-cent part! True customer service!

This company will have my business for life. They reminded me that little things like a smile – or  returning a phone call promptly, keeping a client completely informed on matter status – these make a huge difference. They can even be the difference in keeping or losing a relationship.

This never changes – even in the most turbulent of market conditions.

What are you doing to make your clients feel valued and appreciated every time they interact with your firm?