Yesterday, I pulled into the drive-through of our locally owned pharmacy and gift store to pick up a prescription. First, let me say that the concept of a drive-through pharmacy is really a nice one, and I appreciate that this long-time family owned business cared enough about their customers a few years back to knock out a hole in one of the outer walls of their building, install a window, and put an awning over it. It couldn’t have been cheap, and I don’t think it’s a money maker. I think they just genuinely care about the comfort of their customers. Considering that many people drag themselves from their beds or their doctor’s offices to have prescriptions filled, it’s helpful to be able to pull up to a window instead of walking into the store bedraggled and germy. In my case yesterday, I had my very large dog with me, and pulling up to the window meant I did not have to leave him in an unattended car, even for three minutes, or drop him off at home. Kudos to small mom-and-pop businesses everywhere who think this way and plan for the convenience of their clientele.
But as I pulled in yesterday, my car did a little hop, so I casually asked the woman at the window if I had run over a curb or something. Her answer was to say no and to ask why I thought so. “It felt like I hit a little something,” I said, and then thought no further of it. It was just a little hop. But a few minutes later as I pulled away from the store with my purchased pills, I glanced in the rear view mirror. Two employees were out looking carefully at the ground behind me. It took me a minute to realize they were looking for whatever it was I might have hit. I rolled down my window and called, “Hey, it was no big deal—just a little bump!” “We know,” they replied, “but we’re just checking to make sure there’s nothing out here so nobody else hits something and damages their car or goes bump in the night.”
Wow. In that instant, I felt really and truly cared for my local pharmacy. They clearly hadn’t done it for show, either, because they hadn’t mentioned to me that they would go look—I only noticed by glancing in my mirror. These employees were just genuinely kind, concerned about the safety of their next clients. It was such a small thing, searching for an imaginary pot hole or pop can on a black top driveway—but the gesture was huge. And I’ll remember that gesture, and all their other personal details of caring, the next time I’m in Walmart and tempted to save time by filling my prescription while I shop. Instead, I’ll take the time to drive to the place that cares.
Incidentally, this is the same local pharmacy that is likely to ask me, the next time I’m in, how that anti-viral compound worked on my cold. Remembering, and inquiring about, my health is another small detail that makes a difference.
It’s a lesson for all of us in small business: the little things really do matter.
Challenge: How is my company with the little things? How are we keeping the personal, caring touch in our client relationships even as our business grows?