Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Thank you for your business"

The book is The Thank You Economy, by Gary Vaynerchuk.  The thesis is that, thanks to social media, business is returning to its mom-and-pop roots, in that personal customer service is once again becoming important.  I ran across the book listening to an interview with Vaynerchuk on NPR.

I'm of two minds about this:

Mind 1: Hmm ... it's all different now, is it?  Is business, in fact, paying more attention to individual customers?  Did it really stop?  How would you measure this?

Anecdotal evidence:  Today I took my car to the shop expecting a hefty amount of deferred maintenance because, well, it had been a while.  Instead, they explained what it really needed, did that, offered to fix a couple of minor problems that had been bugging me for years, which I had them go ahead and do, and sent me on my way for a modest sum.  These were the same folks who last year quickly and efficiently diagnosed and fixed a problem that the dealer I called had had no clue about, which is why I came back in the first place.

Are they on Facebook?  No.  Can I follow them on Twitter? No.  Do they provide no-nonsense service at a reasonable price?  Absolutely.  Do they have all the business they can handle?  Judging by the parking lot and the steady stream of customers, I'm guessing so.  Are they run essentially the same way they would have been 50 years ago?  Quite likely.

Mind 2:  Well, I've got to be a fan of someone who titles the first chapter of his book "How Everything Has Changed, Except Human Nature", and anyone pushing for good old-fashioned customer service is OK in my book.  Rather than focus on what historical trends might or might not have been, another take is that the modern web offers tools that let good businesspeople serve their customers better, even if those customers are across the country or the world.  In that case, he's got a point, and probably a lot of useful experience and tips to share.

Mind, Vaynerchuk's own site makes the less modest claim that the "Thank you economy" is "the most important shift in culture businesses have seen," but then, he's got a book to sell.


SJ Scott said...

Sounds like you patronize Shoreline Family Auto in Shoreline, WA. People (and businesses) like this are worth their weight in gold.

earl said...

In dealing with walk-in retailers I rate service first, selection second, and price last. Walmart's door hasn't seen my shadow in years. As a businessman myself, I figure the only thing worth producing is happy customers. If you're ever in the Lawrence, KS area, the place is Cottin's Hardware, and if you need industrial supplies it's McMaster-Carr, in the Chicago area and online.

David Hull said...

Hmm ... I thought I had a fairly strict "nothing commercial in the comments section" policy, but it turns out I just have a fairly strict "no spam" policy. An honest plug for a good business from someone who has actually read the post is pretty much the polar opposite of spam. See here for a bit more.

Anyone else have a first-rate local business you want to give a shout-out to?