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April 8, 2009

Why I Will Pay an Extra $1.50 for Ink Exchange

In this post: How above-and-beyond customer service is worth its weight in gold …
Heidi StrandI will say with full disclosure that I’ve never been a bargain shopper. I simply hate to cut coupons and I firmly believe the Sunday discount section is a sin against trees.

It’s not that I’m opposed to paying less, I just don’t have the time or energy to make it a priority.

However, what I have found is that I am willing to pay more if there are “extras” involved.

I guess that makes me a lifestyle-experience shopper. And, here’s why:

We have a quiant, downtown shop called Apple Blossom Books. It doesn’t always carry the latest romance novels or multiple copies of every Dora the Explorer book, but it has amazing customer service and knowledgeable staff that entice me to always make it my first stop when seeking a book (which is often).

Candy, the owner, has recommended more books to me than I can count (I have a vampire-thing and I’ve already read all the Twilights twice, so I’m in constant need of new material!). She calls, emails and visits with me when new books arrive to ensure I know about them and can put them aside if I’m interested in buying it. She’ll pre-order releases for me (like Turn Coat, Jim Butcher’s latest Dresdent Files release that arrived in stores only yesterday!). And, she keeps a “wish list” for my daughter. Yes, you read that accurately. My daughter can request a book, Candy will keep it on file in a special folder, and Cora’s grandmother can make a simple call resulting in an easy and much-loved Easter present for my 9-year-old.

Target sells many of the same books I have purchased at Apple Blossom, but at less. (It appears I’m not the only one with a vampire-thing.) And, while I love Target, no one there would have introduced me to the House of Night series or Wicked Lovely and it’s sequel, Ink Exchange.

And, I love them. And, I was more than willing to fork out the money for them … because Candy said I would love them.

Not only that, but if I actually count the dollars I’ve spent at Apple Blossom … well, let’s just say I’ve become a very good customer. Why? Because it is not only the first place that I go for books now … but also for gifts.

Customer service is more than convenience. It is more than low prices and a kind “May I help you?” (Although that goes a long way.)

Apple Blossom offers the full customer experience. Candy and her team have thought through every aspect of how Apple Blossom Books can appeal to its customers. Many stores and businesses don’t and they are missing a tremendous opportunity to increase their business.

Trust me … paying more for the extras is well worth it!