You are not in business to make pennies. You are in business to make dollars, lots of them, over a long period of time.
So why are you getting so upset at the customer who didn't come in right away to use to the free gift certificate you gave her? Why are you mad at her when she shows up a year later? She showed up, didn't she?
So why are you arguing with the customer over the return she wants to make because it wasn't the right item for her? Why are you making her angry just to save yourself from pulling a few dollars out of the drawer today?
So why are you fretting over the one customer who showed a few days after the coupon you sent her expired? Does the fact that 500 other customers showed up on time with their coupons give you a reason to make this one customer angry enough to post on Facebook about you?
Bob Negen of Whizbang Training came to Jackson to speak to our downtown businesses. He told us a story that has stuck with me a long time. He was buying an Apple Computer. He had heard about how great they were. Unfortunately, his wasn't so great. After three repairs, it still wasn't working. Never had worked. They wanted to repair it one more time. He wanted to start with a new one. They said no. And for the cost of one computer they lost his business forever.
Did I mention that his business had 5 computers at that time?
And he had 2 at home?
And he plans to be in business another 20 or so years?
And he needs printers, cables, mouses, too?
And he likes to upgrade to new stuff every three years?
Seven computers times seven upgrades equals 49 computers. The Apple guy lost 49 sales because of that one sale. Oh, but he saved the price of one computer (sarcasm intended).
Look at your horizon. How long do you want to be in business? When you take a long view of your business you see that every transaction is simply a means by which you get to earn another transaction. Sometimes you will make money on this transaction. Sometimes you won't. The goal of each transaction, however, is to delight the customer enough so that she will come back and bring her friends with her. Nothing more, nothing less.
When you begin to look at it that way, you'll be dollars (and sense) ahead of your competition.
PS For more ways to delight customers and earn more transactions, check out my free eBook Customer Service: From Weak to WOW!.
PPS Thanks, Mary, for inspiring this blog. Sorry that other toy store didn't get it.