“To Please a Customer – Not Make a Sale
Business is founded on service:
Good business on good service:
The best business on the best service:
It is what you can do for others that will give you larger and yet larger opportunity to serve them, and as your service improves your opportunity for increased business will enlarge, for the public is looking for a man who is clear-sighted enough to think about its comfort and its advantage and, in the long run, will pay him well to do so.
John Wanamaker has improved his opportunity. He has thought more about pleasing a customer than he has about making a sale. Everything he does shows this characteristic. His advertising announcements bristle with this idea.
Settle this first then, that it is good business to please a customer at any cost within reason. Don’t let the thought of making a sale cause you to depart from this fundamental principle. Sometimes it is much easier to sell than to permanently please; in such a case it is even wiser not to sell than to have a well-grounded suspicion that a customer will not be fully satisfied with the purchase.
In order to see the truth of this principle as a business policy, turn it wrong side foremost and see if you are willing to follow it.
“Make sales, never mind pleasing a customer.” How many sales will you make along that road ? Your business career may start big but it will end small like this
Now, take the other start, please a customer if you make fewer sales to begin with and your business career will be like this
Pleased customers multiply fast. To secure their good will is more valuable than to get their money.
This policy was adopted by the L.E. Waterman Co. at the very beginning of their Fountain Pen career. Every pen buyer must be pleased and must stay pleased. It wouldn’t do to have a disgruntled customer on any account. We knew we could satisfy any reasonable person and we set out to succeed at it. If we have ever failed in a single instance it is because the person has not signified, in any way, his dissatisfaction.
While we could relate much valuable experience gained by serving carefully many good customers, a most striking example is that of a black smiths who stopped at the counter in company with his attorney, en route to Court, The attorney had mislaid his fountain pen and was compelled to make a new selection before going further, as he was completely lost without the pen. The arguments used and the painstaking manner of the clerk finally induced the blacksmith to purchase one also, but the use of such a tool not coming natural to him, a great deal of time was spent in repeating the instructions on caring for the pen. The results were shown the following Christmas, when he called with his two grown daughters, who, he said, were then teaching in the public schools, and their purchases for family Christmas gifts amounted to $ 17.50.
In the early days of the Company the policy was to introduce the pen in the hard territory by a personal canvass of the consumers. When visiting Kankakee , Illinois, among the calls made was one on the Official Reporter of Kankakee County, Mr. Will C. Schneider, who was still using a pencil for his reporting, although the Judge’s request was that all notes be made in ink. The first objection was that the pen points did not suit, and after submitting several pens for trial of the pen points, a pen was finally selected. The size of the barred was then objected to, and a large number of different shapes and sizes of barrel were experimented with, the customer finally approving what we have now adopted as our regular stenographic pen. We readily figured that the time and labor in selling the first pen was worth twice as much as the amount of the sale, but can now locate where the sale of at least fifty pens has been made from the pains taken in this one case, and we have had direct from Mr. Schneider single orders for at least four pens from associate stenographers or acquaintances who preferred to depend on his selection.
In order to please your customer you must thoroughly believe that you can do so. This is absolutely essential. We have believed it and are succeeding. We are firmly convinced that there isn’t a man or woman on top of earth who knows how to write at all whom we cannot please with a Waterman Ideal.
The sooner you begin to believe this the more certain you are to please and the quicker your pen department will be the pride of the store in which you labor.
This lesson is learned only when it becomes a fixed principle of your conduct of the Fountain Pen department, to please a customer rather than to make a sale. If you have not the exact pen in stock which the customer wants, do not let the wrong pen leave the store, but send for the right one without regard to the slight delay, for there’s a Waterman Ideal Fountain Pen for every man, woman and child who writes, and you and we must be sure that each gets the right one.
Let us stop where we began. Business is founded on service, good business on good service, the best business on the best service. Look to pleasing a customer, therefore, rather than making a sale. “