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What is the Cost of Good Will for a Business?

In order to have a successful business, we have to show ‘good faith’ – that is being honest and forthright in what we say and do. We have to mean what we say and say what we mean. Then there is also the issue of ‘good will’. This can be extremely expensive. Sometimes we can lose a few dollars to show we have some, or we can lose a great deal if we refuse to have any.

Let’s look at an example of a beauty salon. One of the regular customers has their hair cut at $20 once every month. One day after having her hair done, she buys a hair product for $20. After 30-days she tries to return it and the beauty salon refuses to issue a credit or refund as they have a 7-day return policy. They saved maybe the $12 that they paid for the product wholesale.

Although it may seem reasonable and fair that the beauty salon would only accept a return on a product within 7-days, this customer is a long-time, regular customer. If she gets angry because she has wasted $20 on this product which she really doesn’t like,* and decides to find a new beauty salon, the business has lost $20 per month – say for 12-month’s of haircuts, which would be $240. Obviously the salon should have accepted the return and at the very least given the person credit on her next haircut.

Note: *The customer will also have to spend more money to buy another product to replace the one she hates and you can be sure she will buy it elsewhere – so it may now cost her twice as much to have whatever the product is. The real point though is her feelings about the salon now. She has been a loyal customer over the years and now she feels betrayed and as if she is not a valued customer.

Too many merchants do not put enough effort into retaining their customers. Besides making exceptions to policies sometimes, they might think about their service and support. Is it fast, efficient, polite, and maybe even friendly? That’s all part of creating a pleasant atmosphere just as much as having a clean, neat appearance whether we are talking brick and mortar store or a website.

One way to please our regular, loyal customers may even be to offer them a surprise discount once in a while. You can do this in the form of a coupon, for example, buy 3 haircuts get the 4th one half price or buy 5 haircuts get the 6th one free. You see deals like this all the time – buy one get the second one half-off – or even free. The point is you are showing that you appreciate their business and are willing to give something back over and above good service. It can really pay off in the long-run.

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