Kim vs. the Corporation

Do you want to know how to blow people away and gain more business that you ever thought possible?  It’s not as hard as you might think.

I know a lady named Kim.  She’s from Korea and runs (or is the face of) a dry cleaners that I frequent.

The first day that I met Kim, I lived on a houseboat about a mile away from her business.  That day, I parked my car close to the front door and walked in.  There was Kim.  The first thing I noticed about Kim was her smile.  Kim has this smile.  I mean she has this beautiful smile!  Her whole face lights up when she sees you.  I immediately felt welcomed.

She said, “Hi, you’re new!”  She asked me my name and told me hers.  She asked me what kind of starch I liked in my shirts and how I liked them packaged.  She told me that my clothes would always be ready by 4:30 p.m. if brought in by 9:00 a.m. the same morning.  Then she told me about how if I ever needed really quick service to let her know.  Really quick service?  I thought one day was a miracle.

She told me that I never had to walk in the door again—that I could use their drive-through for my convenience.

The quality of Kim’s work is incredible.  I know I’m just talking about dry cleaning and laundry, but I’ve never had my shirts look better—crisper, and cleaner—Ever!

The best part?  Kim calls me by name every time I pull up.  She asks about Sandy and our kids—By Name, even when they aren’t in the car.  She knows me, and my family.  She has taken the time to make me a huge fan, and she’s done it by being a joyful person, by showing interest in me, and by excellent service.  Most cleaners would never take the time to do this.  They don’t realize that this really is their business.  That’s what makes Kim stand out.  She’s not in the dry cleaning business; she’s in the people business!

A couple of months after first meeting Kim, Sandy and I moved 18 miles north of her location.  I still go to her.  I’ll use no one else.  Going to the cleaners now is a 36 mile round trip.  But I don’t care.  She treats me like no other cleaner I’ve ever used.  So I’m loyal to her.  She’s earned my business.

Let’s compare this with another experience I had recently.

A couple of months ago, I had to rent a tuxedo for a wedding.  I went to a nationally known men’s clothing store that I’ve used for years.  But I went to a new location, closer to my home than the one I usually use.  Big mistake.

They measured me for the tux.  They told me I could pick it up two days before the wedding.  I asked them if that would give us time if I needed any additional alterations.  They said they had confidence in their measurements, and there wouldn’t be any need.

When I went to pick the tux up, I decided to try it on; although they had it wrapped up to go.  The pants were literally 6” too big in the waist.  They had these pull tabs on the side, but even pulling them, they were almost falling off me.  They were so baggy that looked like clown pants!  No kidding…  There was absolutely no way that I would wear them to the wedding.

I grabbed the salesman, showed them the pants (that I was holding up with my hands) and he said, “That’s the way they’re supposed to look.  Just use a belt.”

Okay, I’m not going to tell you what I said—the Internet police would probably censor me anyway.  But needless to say, I had a major meltdown right there on the spot.  How dare him insult my intelligence by telling me they were fine!  $180.00 and you’re telling me I’m supposed to look like a clown?

Luckily, the manager of the store and the tailor were close by and heard me.  They rushed over and took control of the situation.  They got another pair sent in the next day, which cost me another trip and about an hour more time—with no apologies!

That’s it for them.  I’ll never use them again.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

Businesses must understand that we—the consumers, have the right to make choices.  We can do business with whomever we choose.

As for me, I’m sticking with the Kim’s of the world.  And I’ll suggest her to all of my friends.  Word of mouth is the best advertising.

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