Simply Being Nice Can Differentiate You

by TTMK on August 23, 2012 · 5 comments

Nice guys finish last.  I think we have all heard that saying, right?

Well, I’m not sure that bad guys finish first.  At least in terms of the world of consumer-facing businesses, anyway.  If you go to the store, and somebody is rude to you, won’t you remember it? I know I would. I may not hold it against the business – but then again, maybe I would.  It could mean that I would be less likely to patronize that business in the future.

What about the opposite? What about when a business shows that they care, and they have a personal touch to how they deal with customers and manage customer relations?  That might get us to actually go there more often, and possibly differentiate versus other competitors.

I had an experience recently that was a good example of a business having employees that showed the cared, and it made quite an impression on me.  Of all places, it was at a local dry cleaner.  This place is one where my father typically drops things off every week, a place of which he has been a customer for the last few years.

Anyway, I was there to pick up his dry cleaning, as he had been dealing with some health issues that made it impossible for him to go there.  So, I walked in and gave them his last name…which also happens to be mine.  Upon hearing the name, the guy I was talking to, and another lady who worked there, both smiled and brought up my Dad’s name.  The asked if I was his son.

I said yes, and they proceeded to tell me that he was absolutely one of their favorite customers.  Apparently, he always talks very nicely to them,  has a smile, and never gives them a hard time even if they don’t have things ready on time.  They gladly told me so 🙂

The younger lady, seemingly a high school kid, even smiled and said that he’s a sweet man, who enjoys the coffee they give to customers – with a packet of sugar, she noticed.  When I told them that he was having some health issues, and that it might be a few weeks until he came back in, they asked me to wish him well.

Very nice people, and very unusual for a business in this day and age.  Because of that, they differentiated themselves from other places that one could go for dry cleaning.

All it took was showing a personal touch, and treating others just as you would want to be treated.

You can bet that I will also now go to that same place.  After being so genuinely friendly, and saying such nice words about my father, of course they won my business.  Now, it doesn’t hurt that they are priced reasonably too – but so are other places. This place differentiates on their customer service.

The Takeaway: showing that you care and being nice in a genuine way can really set you apart from others.  Not that this is the goal, but it’s a nice end result anyway.  Good to keep in mind in general, but also when networking, on the job, and in many other situations.

My Questions for You

  1. Have you ever received great customer service, and ultimately ended up being a loyal customer?
  2. Do you think that this concept can actually differentiate us personally in the workplace, and in our careers?
  3. Why do you think it is that such friendly, personal service is so uncommon when it is so easy to do?



{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

bogofdebt August 23, 2012 at 8:43 am

I do tend to visit the stores or places that I’ve had great customer service–they stand out in my mind. I remember this one little restaurant gave me the wrong drink-they let me keep the wrong one, gave me the right one and charged for neither. I go to that restaurnt more now than the other Mexican restaurant because I did have such great customer service. And the Chinese take out place? The lady remembers us and always ask where we’ve been if we’ve not had it in a while. Feels great to be remembered.


Gillian @ Money After Graduation August 23, 2012 at 9:31 am

It depends on the business. If I were to purchase a certain thing regardless, I would definitely go to the place where the people were the nicest. However, if there was an item far cheaper at another place, I would go for the deal because my budget is so important to me. I would return to the nice place to look for new things when I needed to because I appreciate the friendliness and helpfulness.


Kathleen @ Frugal Portland August 23, 2012 at 10:16 am

Not only do I go back to places that are nice to me, I try to be the kind of customer where they say, “oh nice, she’s here” when I walk in.


SB @One Cent at a Time August 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm

strange that I live and work in places where every one is nice. So there’s nothing special in being nice. Its the norm.


Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals August 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm

I’m one of those people who believes that when you find extraordinary customer service, it should be acknowledged. Whether that’s tipping a waitress or telling someone’s supervisor that you felt especially well-treated, it’s the positive feedback that’s important. It’s a lesson my dad taught me as well; he’s been going to the same rather run-down restaurant every SAturday morning for YEARS because the service is so good there. He’s also the type who leaves $100 tips to the staff at Christmas time or when he knows it’s one of their birthdays.


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