Customers "R" Us!


Visitors: 437

It always amazes me how business people detach themselves from their customers, especially linguistically.

Customers are referred to, over and again, as “they, " as in “What are they thinking?" and “They must be crazy!"

It would make much more sense to change the pronoun to “we" and to “us. "

For instance, if you want to know what will motivate customer retention and customer loyalty, ask yourself, what do I appreciate, as a customer? What keeps me coming back?

For instance, I have frequented a small, family owned Italian restaurant in Hollywood for years. Tony, the proprietor of Palermo’s, happens to be one of the warmest people you’ll ever come across, and he always greets me that way, remembering my name.

That’s simple, right? But I appreciate it, along with the effort he exerts to say thank you to me as I leave.

Tony is more than warm. He’s smart.

When he first opened, over 20 years ago, he offered a free glass of wine to people who were waiting for a table. FREE WINE!

Now, it wasn’t vintage stuff, but it was drinkable, and always appreciated.

The loyal, if slightly marinated throngs who frequented Palermo’s always welcomed this gesture, and I’m sure it kept many coming back. Moreover, it opened the spigot, when customers did get seated. They ordered more—guess what? More wine, of course, this time paying for the privilege.

Today, the free wine costs 50 cents. Hey, everything goes up, sooner or later. But Tony is still subsidizing our pleasure, making a gesture, distinguishing his place from the pack.

His secret isn’t crushed grapes.

It’s identifying with his customers, treating us like family, like we’re “we, " instead of “them. "

Dr. Gary S. Goodman, President of, is a popular keynote speaker, management consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books, including Reach Out & Sell Someone® and Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Customer Service. A frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide, Gary’s programs are offered by UCLA Extension and by numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. Gary is headquartered in Glendale, California. He can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at: .


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