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July 16, 2009  

June is a hectic month for bike shops, says Seth Godin in a post at his blog. "If you bring your bike in for a tune up, it will cost $39 and take a week. A week!" Those who ask for a quicker turnaround will often find they're out of luck—that the shop is simply too busy to handle special requests.

"The problem with telling people to go away is that they go away," says Godin. "And the problem with treating all customers the same is that customers aren't the same. They're different and they demand to be treated (and are often willing to pay) differently."

Instead of making the decision for its customers, a bike shop could let them make the decision. "[W]hy not smile and say, 'Oh, wow, that's a rush. We can do it, but it's expensive. It'll cost you $90. I know that's a lot, but there you go.'"

Customers might still leave, but they might also pay the premium and consider it money well spent for a rush job. "Why should this be your choice, not theirs?" asks Godin.


The Po!nt: If you're busy enough to turn down special requests, congratulations! But why not accommodate customers who might be willing to pay a premium if it means they get your product or service sooner rather than later?

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