Shoot really straight


A friend who has followed “It’s All About The Customer” for quite a while now sent me the following message.

“I thought of you the other day. I had a customer come in the store looking for something for his son. He said that his son had used a product purchased at a competitor and really liked it. We do not sell the product, so I recommended one of ours. The man said that his son had also taken that product and not seen any results.

I decided to break all the rules of retail. I said, “Do you mind if I shoot really straight with you?” He said, “Go ahead.” I said, “I think you ought to go down the road and buy the product he really liked.” He said, “Just because you said that makes me want to shop with you guys.” He ended up buying a product for himself from me (nothing too impressive, but a sale nonetheless).

I wanted to get your feedback on this scenario. I probably would have gotten in trouble if my manager had been there. Do you think it is ever okay to send your customer down the road to a competitor? I think in a case like this it is. I’m hoping that the long-term benefit outweighs the short-term “loss.” Thoughts?”

Okay. May I just say this was a huge risk? May I also say that I would probably have done the same thing?

What would you do? Would you have the courage to take the risk?

This entry was posted in Competition, Courage, Risk. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Shoot really straight

  1. Jeff Noel says:

    David, first, just a reminder I read your blog every day, even if I don’t comment.
    Second, trust is developed by telling the truth. There is no other way to get there. As soon as we start misleading someone, well, you know what happens.

    • David says:

      Jeff, thank you for your daily support on so many levels. The truth may be painful at times. But one thing it doesn’t do is mislead.

      Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  2. Donna Flanagin says:

    David, I too drop by your blog daily. I applaud your friend. When the competition has a product that is superior, make a mental note. When it is their customer service that is superior, that is another story.

    • David says:

      Donna, he is in a position where he can’t do much about it. But what he can do is offer a great level of service without compromising his integrity. I don’t know if the product in question is superior, inferior or just different. His character told him to take the risk and be honest.

      It’s sad that honesty, while it may be the best policy, can be the exception rather than the standard.

      Enjoying your blog updates. Remember, you’ve got an open invitation as a guest blogger here. 🙂

  3. Brandon says:

    Thats a great post David – I always try to transpose your posts to see how they apply to me and to KSU. I think if your store/products or university/courses are top notch they speak for themselves basically. So if a customer/student wants to purchase a less quality product from elsewhere I think they should be free to do so. Chances are very good that they will end up back at our doorstep (so to speak) soon enough when they are no longer satisfied or happy with a lower end product. Its like we have all heard – you get what you pay for.

    • David says:

      Great application Brandon. There are plenty of choices and once a customer/guest understands that they can go in a different direction, it could be the time you say goodbye. But if you are consistent with your delivery of excellent service, you are offering something that usually won’t be found elsewhere.

  4. Patty Hebert says:

    Reminds me of the Christmas movie of Miracle on 34th Street. I think that is the correct title. Where Santa suggests others stores besides Macy’s, to find presents. And as with your situation, the customers realize the profound honesty they are being handed, and became loyal Macy’s customers.

  5. Patty Hebert says:

    And yes, I would take the risk.

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