The Sprinkles Power of a Loaner

share_17 (2)It was not a fancy restaurant. My hotel did not have a restaurant so I walked a block to this simple diner. I was there for a late breakfast before beginning my work with a client in the afternoon. There were only two people in the restaurant…a couple waiting for their check. The happy-go-the waitress poured my coffee and took my order. Moments later she returned with a small flower arrangement in a glass vase and a magnificence day starting announcement.

“My husband had these flowers delivered to me yesterday in celebration of our anniversary.” As she placed them on my table, she continued: “I want to share them with you while you are visiting with us!”

Sharing is different than giving. There is an egalitarian contribution without any risk of the guilt of reciprocity. It is a perfect symbol of a partnership, like a neighbor borrowing a cup a sugar. You are looking for a pen to sign a credit card or delivery receipt and the service person says, “Here use mine.” It might be handing you smartphone to someone needing to make a call and caught without their own phone.

A number of years ago my wife surprised me with a unique birthday present—a 1962 perfectly restored Mercedes-Benz 220! It looked gorgeous; but stayed in the shop more than in my garage. That’s all I remember about the car. But, I remember about Brother’s Auto Repair where the car was nursed back to health during the two years I owned the gorgeous, classy lemon.

The two owners, Nicky and Joe, believed all customers were simply “good neighbors with car problems.” It was a sentiment that enabled them to outpace the service departments of all the Mercedes dealerships within a 100-miles. Long before the era of loaner cars, Nicky or Joe would often say, “We’ll need about two hours to fix your car, so if you have errands to run, just take my car. And, you can bet their “loaner” was always a brand new Mercedes sedan! I was always so awed by their gesture I gassed up their car no matter where the nettle on the gas gauge was positioned.

Sharing is caring. Sharing is neighbor-serving-neighbor. And, sharing can send your customer’s loyalty right through the stratosphere. What can you share with your customers today?

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