I used to frequent a dry cleaning establishment located about four minutes away from my house. The location was very convenient because it was close and always on the way to just about anywhere else I was going.
They did an adequate job. They didn’t screw up my clothes or my orders, but didn’t do anything special either. Sometimes I would see little stains they didn’t get off my clothes. I would usually shrug this off.
One day I had a bunch of shirts in my car and wanted to drop them off but I was nowhere near my usual dry cleaner. I don’t remember exactly why, but I dropped them off to a random dry cleaning place located about 10-15 minutes away from where I live.
Normally I would take the huge pile of shirts, drop them on the counter, the lady would take them and hand me a ticket. At this new place, the woman actually separated all the shirts and scanned them for any stains. When she found one, she would mark it with a paperclip. Then, she would ask me what level of starch I wanted.
I left them there, and a few days later picked them up. She told me that two of my shirts had little stains she couldn’t get out, but if I left them there another two days, she could get them. If I wanted them immediately, she could get them ready within 30 minutes.
Of course I told her to keep them, and sure enough, when I came back two days later, these shirts came back pristine and spotless. She showed a level of care the other dry cleaning place never demonstrated. Even better, they charged pretty much the same price as the other place.
I was super impressed. From that point forward, I drove the extra 10-15 minutes, always out of my way, to use this dry cleaner over the one close to my house. For a time management nerd like me, driving 15 minutes out of my way is a pretty big deal.
It’s worth it. I do it happily. They do a better job.
When I started out as a computer consultant many years ago, I used to call my clients 48 hours after an appointment, just to follow up and ask them if everything was still working correctly. They were shocked. “No computer guy has EVER called us back like this!” Often these clients would refer me to other paying clients, and I’d get the business even when I was charging more money per hour than the computer guys whom they were already currently using.
People are not as cheap as you may assume. People really do pay extra, or go through extra trouble, to work with those who do a better job. Doing better is one of the most profitable things you can do in your business.