When friends and colleagues ask your opinion about a business, regardless of industry, the discussion typically turns to the level of service you received.
Many times you see this in a retail environment. Different department stores can sell you some of the same products. The pair of Levi's jeans you can buy at Sears®/MD is the same as the pair you can buy at The Bay®. Since the pairs are the same, the next logical point of comparison is price. Let's says that both stores are having a sale and the price is $49.99. Finally, let's assume that it takes the same level of effort to travel to either department store.
What's left? Service.
You walk into Department Store A and cannot find your size on the rack. You turn to find a salesperson and you have can't immediately find someone. You wander over to the next department and you find someone but are faced with a stock response, "That is not my department. I can't help you." You decide that the effort is too great to make your purchase here and you leave.
You travel to Department Store B and cannot find your size on the rack either. You fear that you've reached a dead end. However, a salesperson is nearby. He approaches you to see if you need assistance. You explain your dilemma and he checks the stockroom to see if your size is available there. He returns after a few minutes stating that the size is not available in the store but offers to order them for you and have them shipped to your home.
You ended your shopping trip the same way it began, empty-handed. However, the experience was dramatically different between the two stores. Store A lost a $50 sale and Store B gained. That's the short-sighted view.
When it's time to shop again, will you have a preference as to to which store you will visit first? Of course you will. You may be willing to pay a little more for a better experience.
NOTE: Department Store A and Department Store B do not represent Sears and The Bay mentioned early in this post. I personally have received outstanding service from both organizations in their stores.