I just got off the phone with a customer who called in just to say “Thank You”.
He didn’t have any questions, any concerns or complaints, he simply just wanted to tell me (not even knowing I was the owner of the business) how much he appreciated every aspect of doing business with us.
It turns out he had just placed an order a couple days ago and received the hammock in the mail yesterday. Not only couldn’t he believe how quickly it arrived but he also couldn’t believe there was a handwritten note inside - in his words: “People just don’t do that anymore”. He went on to say that he had never setup a hammock in his life but he took it out, read the quick instructions printed on the pouch of our rope kit, and had it setup within a minute or so on the very first try.
And here’s the kicker: he didn’t even have a chance to use it.
He was just setting the hammock up as a test run for an upcoming trip and said he couldn’t wait to actually try it out. Here was someone being incredibly sincere and taking the time out of his day to call in and tell me how much he loved the company and appreciated the service. I felt like I was talking to one my happiest, long time customers – and he hadn't even used the product yet.
As I’ve shared with you, my goal is ultimately to create something positive with my time and deliver happiness however I can. Everything about owning a business, having things to sell and heading down the path that I’m on feels like an extension of that goal. I feel lucky because the products I sell almost inherently make people happy, whether it’s the feeling of being in one of our hammocks or the good feeling that comes from knowing you’ve finally kicked your plastic bag habit with our Eco Totes. In a beautiful way, I really don’t have to worry much about people ever being unhappy with the products. So I’ve always felt that if I’m going to build Trek Light Gear into a successful business (read: lots of happy customers) it’s really everything else about the experience that matters most.
“The product is secondary” sounds like a new-age marketing philosophy, but it's an assumption I've always operated under whether I really understood it or not. Once I started thinking about it I realized I've even noticed the effect on myself plenty of times before. In restaurants for example, I'll sometimes walk into a new place and be so enamored with the atmosphere, the menu and the service that I'm ready to declare it my new favorite place to eat before I've even tried a bite of food. It's an amazing thing to realize that a business has the ability to do so many things right (or wrong) before you actually get the chance to even try their product or service. By the time the food or the product shows up you actually WANT to like it and a business owner can't possibly ask for more than that.
Every one of us, whether you own a business or not, has the chance to lead with our best foot forward in every aspect of what we do. It can be as simple as a smile on your face or a handwritten note in a box. Does the product matter? Of course it does. But, to channel Yogi Berra here, never lose sight of all the things you can do before you've really done anything at all.
Thanks for being such awesome customers, friends and supporters. And don’t forget to share your happiness with others, it goes an incredibly long way.
[In case you've missed it, I've written a few other 'Lessons In Happiness' posts here on the blog. Each one is usually triggered by an email, phone call or interaction with a customer that inspires me in some way. Hope you're enjoying it and finding some value in these posts as well.]