My wife and I were antiquing about a month ago in North Carolina and walked into a store with a sign greeting us that read: “Come in As Strangers, Leave As Friends.” I thought to myself, that message is what business should be all about. I used Google to find the original quote and its source; however, the author was unknown. Too bad for him or her!
Whenever anyone enters a store, calls a company or uses a website for the first time, that customer is basically a stranger. The goal should be to turn as many strangers into friends. By being welcoming and making people feel important and appreciated, they will become lifelong customers. That was one of the messages in Dale Carnegie’s best selling business book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. It is a time-tested principle and works well.
Recently, I also met an older gentleman, who, when I mentioned what I did for a living, said to me, “a customer is not a customer until they come back.” I think that says it all too.
Unfortunately, the owner and sales people at the antique store appeared not to have read the sign posted at the front door. They barely said hello, were talking among themselves, and didn’t seem to care whether or not we left as friends.
The store had nice merchandise, but I won’t be back. I’m still a stranger.