Your reputation is very important. It can make or break your business. Like me, I'm sure you notice good and bad examples, and tell stories of both to your friends. I'm lucky enough to be able to get a message to lots of people, so I hope these two companies are listening - Virgin Media and Runners World. Let's take Virgin Media first. I noticed that my internet access had disappeared, so did all the usual checks, turning everything off and on. No joy. So I phoned the Virgin Media helpline. I won't bore you with the whole 20-minute conversation, but I was told these three things: I have an incompatible router, the fault was undoubtedly in my house (probably with the wiring), and their local infrastructure was fault-free. After 20 minutes of feeling that I was being told off, I put the phone down. As if by magic, 10 minutes later, everything worked. The wireless router was bought from Virgin (and is definitely compatible), my wiring is fine, and on the Virgin website later in the day was an apology for a fault in my area. Hmmm.
Now for a much happier outcome. I visited Runners World in Canary Wharf, London, to buy some new running shoes. I was simply looking to replace a pair, but the assistant asked if I'd like to have my running style checked. I tried several pairs of shoes on the treadmill, and my running was filmed and analysed. The recommendation was for shoes with a little more ankle support, which felt great when I tried them out. They were a make I hadn't worn before, and were described as "specialist running shoes". Price had never been mentioned at any point, and I suspected I would have to pay more for better shoes. In the event, they were ten pounds less than my normal choice. In short, the shop had persuaded me to buy something cheaper, but better suited to my running style. That's great service.