Service for Rent or Service for Sale

We inked the real estate sales contract and became the proud owners of a new house.  Our realtor, Jim Linney, had a huge basket of wines and goodies delivered later that day for our special “new owner” celebration.  That was five years ago and we hear from Jim almost every month.  If he finds a new restaurant in the area that just opened, he makes certain we get an early heads-up.  Should we need someone to fix our gutter?  A call to Jim gets us contact with the best expert in the area.

We all start our lives borrowing customer service.  Our parents paid the tab on the dining, vacation, or theme park experience we enjoyed as children.  But, as we approach adulthood, we are expected to pay for the service we enjoy. Sometimes, we rent service, unsure if we want a long term relationship.  We treat the encounter as a temporary transaction and hold back our commitment to anything more.  Sometimes, we buy service, investing our time in subsequent returns, advocacy to others, and obviously our funds.  Buyers are more forgiving than renters.  Buyers want to see you succeed; renters want to see you contribute.

What does it take to get customers to buy your service instead of just renting it?  Like our realtor, buying comes with on-going attention, not just drive-by service.  Buying requires investing in the customer, creating an experience that yields a story to tell.  Buying means sending customers a “basket of goodies” to let them know they are valued.  Are your customers renting or buying?

Be sure to read the blog by Krystina Gustafson on wooing customers on

About Chip&John

Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson are customer loyalty consultants and the authors of several best-selling books. Their newest book is "Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to do About it."
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