If you’ve been brainstorming some ways to make potential customers stand up and take

notice, then instead of trying to peer forward into the future to see how you can use bleeding edge technology to give you an advantage, why not go old school?

Everybody is looking for their edge in the realm of technology, so why follow the herd? Break away and do something original. In this case, the “something original” being to breathe new life into an old idea. Here are a few old school business practices that deserve another look:

1) Full Service

Remember watching the movie “Back to the Future,” when our lovable hero first realized he was back in the 50′s? He passed by a gas station while we listened to “Mr. Sandman” playing and a whole team of guys in uniform ran out. One started pumping the gas, one checked the fluids, and another started in on the windows.

It doesn’t even matter that this kind of service was a rarity, even back then. What matters is the feeling that it evokes. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could recapture some or all of that feeling in today’s business climate? How wonderful would it be if we could, from the time our customers entered our place of business, leave them with the feeling that while there were there, their every need was being seen to? That nothing was being left to chance. Can you imagine? Customer satisfaction through the roof!

2) House Calls

Oh, the beauty of the house calls of days gone by. From milk brought to your doorstep each morning, to the kind-eyed doctor carrying his universally recognizable black bag. There are only a very few companies that actually make house calls any more, and most of those only do so because there’s no other way to conduct their business (think: Cable Repair guy). The problem of course is that even these few remaining house call oriented businesses don’t do it right. When was the last time you heard anyone say something positive about the cable guy who says he’ll show up “between 12-5″ only to call you at 6:30 to let you know he’s got to reschedule? Exactly. Me neither.

3) Attention to Detail

You walk into a store and get greeted by name. Who does this any more? Shopkeepers and vendors who know your kids’ birthdays. Your anniversary. Your favorite color. These kinds of things are actually easier than ever to capture, so this experience would really be quite simple to recreate, and oh, the customer retention rate!

4) Customer First

When people watch “A Miracle on 34th Street,” they remember Santa Claus directing a harried shopper to a rival’s department store because their store didn’t have a particular item. They don’t remember the fact that the store manager had a conniption about it. It’s that first experience, the “Santa Claus” experience we want to recreate. Look, the sorry truth is that you’re never going to be all things to all people, but you can even win friends among people who aren’t your customers by offering them genuinely helpful and friendly advice, and you know something else? They’re all but certain to tell their friends about the eerily good customer service they got from you….

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