Memories of bitterness


“I don’t like that guy,” she said.

“Why not,” I wondered…

It turns out that she had done some business with him years ago and it hadn’t gone well.

When pressed for specific reasons why or what happened with the business deal, she couldn’t actually remember what the problem had been, or how much financial or project damage had been done.

All she remembered was that she didn’t like him.

Recently in South Africa, customers have taken to billboards to complain about poor customer service they received from various service providers. A customer paid for a billboard complaining about Cell C (Cellphone provider), another customer did the same against FNB (First National Bank).

In the past couple days, patrons at a restaurant in Johannesburg complained about racist behaviour from the manager.

Years after these complaints, these customers will not remember the finer details of what caused their bitterness, but they will remember how they felt.


That’s the way it usually is. You read those letters to the complaint columns in the paper or online, and the actual facts are often pretty trivial.

What we remember is not the financial hit, we remember the injustice, the disrespect, the way we felt at the time.

Your accountant might care about the facts. You, the entrepreneur, need to care about the conversations and the memories you are creating for your customers.

What memories are you creating for your customers?

How you make your customer feel lasts longer than the details she complained about.


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