Yes Plus One

Taking customer service to the next level

The Upside of Being a Sucker

Nobody want to be thought of as a sucker.  At least not anybody that I know.  Why is that?  According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of sucker is:

Sucker
Noun | suck * er

  1. A person who is easily tricked or deceived.

Being a sucker is not always a bad thing, though.

I have a special needs son who has an electronic toy that has become his security blanket.  Unfortunately for us, they stopped manufacturing this game many years ago.  As you can imagine, he is rough on his toys so every time he breaks his existing game I either have to repair it or replace it with a used one.

Recently he dropped and broke the game to the extent that I was unable to repair it.  Back I went on my quest to find a few more of these from the dwindling supply.  Luckily I was able to find a few.  Two of them were the standard fare that I have dealt with in the past:  They were offered at a modest price that included ‘free’ shipping.  While I think the modest price is too much for a used toy, it is a supply and demand marketplace, after all, and that is the market price.

I came across one other listing, though, that caught my attention.  It was less than half the price of the others but didn’t offer free shipping.  I figured, why not, so I bought it.  It was a bonus that since I was only paying the actual shipping charge and not a blanket fee, the total cost of this third used toy ended up being a couple of dollars less than the others.

The first two that I bought showed up first, just as I expected.  The following day I was surprised to see that the third one arrived in my mailbox, well ahead of the promised delivery time.  Upon opening the package I was even more surprised.

suckerThe first thing that I saw was not the game, but rather a lollipop.  “A lollipop?” I thought.  Immediately under the lollipop was a handwritten note.

Dear Mr. Barber,

I have enclosed the game that you purchased as promised.  I tested it to ensure that it works properly and enclosed batteries to ensure that your child can being enjoying the game immediately even though they were not included in the item description.  I hope that your child gets many years of enjoyment with this game.

I was immediately floored.  While I was happy with the purchase of all three items as they all arrived in a timely manner and as promised, only one of them left a lasting impression on me.

The seller

  1. Added a personal touch to our transaction, building a lasting impression with me regarding their character
  2. Went above and beyond by thinking of me, the buyer, and what would add value to this transaction by including batteries
  3. Included a sucker that directly related to the target market of the product

He went above and beyond, not once, but three times.  When I am in the market to purchase something online again, he will be the first person I look to.  Whether he intended it or not, there is a lasting relationship that he built with me through a few simple and inexpensive steps.

Being a sucker is not always a bad thing.  The sucker, in this case, ended up being a gesture that extended beyond the monetary transaction.  In fact, this transaction was no longer a transaction, but a great positive experience.

Are you the ‘sucker’ when dealing with your customers?  Is your interaction with them merely a transaction or an experience they will never forget?

Go ahead.  Be a sucker and hold your head high.

Updated: January 13, 2017 — 9:23 am
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