I get my local paper delivered on Sundays only and I don’t have one of those mailboxes with the built-in section for a newspaper. My newspaper gets delivered in a plastic bag that is thrown in my driveway.

If it is raining or snowing, doesn’t matter which, the newspaper is a mess. Sometimes it is so bad I have to separate it section by section and hang it to dry for a few hours before reading it.

Since I live in Cleveland and the weather here is anything but sunny a good percentage of the time, chances of getting a wet and soggy paper run high.

Yesterday was another one of those days. It was raining all morning. My paper was soaked on the open end of the bag and also on the opposite end where the bag split from throwing the hefty, advertisement-laden package into my driveway.

While I was complaining about the condition of my paper and throwing out all the rain-soaked pages that I didn’t feel like hanging to dry this day, Mike made a simple comment. This got me thinking about why I continue to allow this to go on and whether I should simply add myself as another casualty to newspaper circulation statistics.

When he had a paper route as a child, if it was raining or snowing, he said he took extra care to make sure his papers were wrapped and tucked in at the end so the papers stayed dry. Competition was tough back when there was a choice of newspapers. It was important to make sure his customers were happy so he could keep them from going to the other paper in town. Pretty smart for a kid. And given the state of affairs in the newspaper world today, something I would think the grown adult who delivers my paper should know and take extra care to do, but things are different now…

We’ve come to a place where many things are taken for granted because money flowed so easy in the past ten years or so. This is not the case today. The consumer has become less tolerant of lackadaisical customer service and ever more cautious as to where to spend their money.

It is essential to evaluate all those little areas in our businesses that we may have become blind to because business was easier to get and money flowed like water. A good way to do this is with a customer survey or a feedback form following a transaction. We have one we use. I would be happy to email it you if you would like to use it as an example in your business.

Little things really do mean a lot and the state of your customer service and/or policies and procedures can easily add up to lost customers or customers for life.

Author: Kathy Jiamboi

Owner of Creativedge Marketing, where growth-oriented dentists find dental practice marketing strategies and advice to take their practice to a new and higher level.

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