I offer you 22000 dollars in value if you open the door for me.


I am lucky; my local groceries store is located only 60 feet away from where I live. I can walk over there in my slippers on bright and shiny mornings to get the newspaper and breakfast. On Saturdays I enjoy eating breakfast early but must wait until after nine o’clock when the store opens.

I can see the store front from my living room window, and this one cold Saturday morning new signs were up. Huge boards with the message: “New opening hours 8-22(20)” Wow, I thought, now I can start breakfast one hour earlier. I did not put on a jacket even if it was below freezing temperatures, since it is so close to home. I walked out looking forward for fresh bread and news. It was now 2 minutes past eight. The sliding doors on the other hand did not part for me, I almost ran straight in to them. What?!?? Is the store closed? But there are signs all over the place telling me about new opening hours, even right in front of my nose on the doors. I can’t believe they have forgotten to open the doors was my first thought.
Freezing cold, I waited for a minute or two, to see if anyone came. Suddenly this tall young “dude” came walking along inside the doors, cleaning stuff, and filling up with goods. The mp3-player deeply plugged into his brain. Ok. I am annoyed right now. I knocked on the door, and was met by a very strange face. He looked at me as if I was something he has never seen before. It did not seem to come to his attention that the store was supposed to be open. So I pointed on my watch to give him a gesture that might help him recover some memory. I’ve been standing out in the cold for ten minutes now. And yes he opens the door. BARELEY! Just enough to stick his head out and ask – “What?” – You are supposed to be open now, I said. Only to be fast replied by; “Oh, yeah, that does not start until Monday”. It does not say that anywhere, and I told him so hoping to reach deep within and find a customer care gene. “Well, yeah! Uh.. Come back in 40 minutes” And he closed the door. I could not believe my ears. I grew up in a groceries store and had some expectations.
I had to go back home, to my wife and kids, to tell them breakfast is postponed. Well lucky me, there is a ten minute walk to a group of his competitors. My local store is small, and for me very handy so I support it the best I can. I know that competition is hard for them, as the large supermarkets are nearby and many. There are four large and two other small stores within 10 minutes walk from my house. I do not need to support the nearest.
I went to the competition this morning. I could wait, but since I am very hung up in customer care, I thought I would test out the competition and compare just for the fun of it. This is what I found out:
  • Competitors actually open at nine. So opening at eight is a great step for my local store.
  • The store I went to had nice smiling employees.
  • The store I went to had things I normally buy, that my local store do not provide. Increasing my experience with breakfast.
  • The store I went to was cheaper.
  • This morning I spent 30 dollars with the competitor.
  • I saw something tempting for dinner, making me return with my wife later on for shopping for the weekend. I spent 150 dollars on it.

The money consequence.
Alright! My local store lost 180 dollars from me this day. But what if I am during the next year chosen to do my shopping elsewhere, let’s say 25 times. That is 25 x 180 dollars. So by not letting me come in, the direct loss for them is 4500 dollars. I work at a company with 600 employees. And since I talk about customer care, all day long I use this experience as an example. By statistics ten other will be influenced by the story, and choose different. I do not know what other spend on groceries. But for the fun of it, and to be nice with my local store, let’s pretend 4 people over the next year went elsewhere five times. They would spend 100 dollars each time. That is 2000 dollars.

Sum summaries.
The local store most likely had a direct loss of 6500 dollars during the next year. Not only do they lose earnings, but the money went right to the competition, making the loss against competition 13000 dollars.

What should he have done?
He should understand that I have been misled. If he would let me in, I would consider this a great customer service. I probably would not tell anyone about it. He would earn 30 dollars right on, 150 dollars later the same day and most likely 4500 dollars the next year, advancing from the competition by 9000 dollars in value.

The big difference.
A total loss of 13000 dollars, or earnings of 9000 dollars? By not giving me a good customer experience this cold morning, the value of it came to 22000 dollars. If I said to him; open the door for me and you will gain a value of 22000 dollars, do you think he would let me in?
This is the cost of bad customer care.

This is the cost of one single small mistake. Can you afford that? Lucky for my local store, I grew up in one. I know how important it is for me to be able to buy milk nearby. I want them to be in business. But on the other hand a ten minute walk would only do me good.

Have you experienced situations like this? Did you ever calculate the consequence? What amount did you get? Please tell me about it.

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2 Comments on "I offer you 22000 dollars in value if you open the door for me."

  1. Great comment. This is a small store, I know those who work there, and this guy could serve me if he wanted to. I grew up in a store, that both my grandparents and parents ran, they opend the doors late in evenings and once I can remember even on christmas eve. The point in the article is not if I need them to kiss my ass, but rather that small things can have huge impact.

  2. Anonymous | July 18, 2008 at 6:11 pm |

    You can argue that every store should open 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour earlier to suck up to one annoying customer because they have no food in the house and need their breakfast NOW!

    But that employee had a job to do and the store wasn’t opened yet, no registers were likely on or manned and no cashiers were punched in.

    In this case, the customer was wrong, and if they cried over something this ridiculous they will likely cry at the new store and hop from store to store in hopes that someone will finally kiss their ass.

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