Guilt your customers into doing business with you – Colin O’Brian

This is my second article on this topic. My assessment is that we only care about local businesses when it is not costing us more money. It is hard to be the lowest cost provider when competing with the whole world online, local companies need to find ways that will make them more competitive than online businesses. One way to do so is through providing exceptional customer service.

Last week, I wrote about exceptional service I get from Kinetic Auto Service in Regina. I will continue the theme with another example of extraordinary customer service I’ve experienced recently.

Colin O’Brian has exceptional service and fine menswear.

Colin O’Brian has become known as one of the finest menswear stores in Regina. I travel a lot, and I don’t shop at Colin O’Brian exclusively. In fact, less than 10% of my wardrobe is purchased there, and it is mostly by my wife. Regardless, every time I stop by they greet me by name, make me feel valued, and even know every item my wife or I have purchased.


Last week, I was in the neighbourhood and decided to stop to see if they could recommend someone to fit my suits.Their manager, Aaron, immediately said:

We can do that for you free of charge

I explained that these are not the suits that I purchased from them, and that they may need a substantial amount of work since I’ve lost 20 pounds. Aaron was unphased. “That’s not a problem at all, Zlatan. You see, our guys are not that busy at this time of the year and it will keep them busy for a while,” he replied.

I told Aaron that he is crazy not to charge me, to which he replied, “we probably are, but that’s what we do for our customers.”

So I took Aaron up on his offer and brought my suits to him. While in store, I booked a custom suit to be made for me, purchased new pants a shirt, and bought a few gift items for other people. I run a small business and know that everything costs money. Even more importantly, I would feel guilty not to do more business with someone who went out of his way to provide me with extraordinary service. Perhaps Aaron wasn’t crazy after all. Instead of spending his money on advertising, telling the world how good their service is, he demonstrated it to me first hand and got another loyal customer in exchange.

Exceptional customer service is the best marketing tactic.

If you want to see growth in your business, I’d urge you to put customer service first. It is the least expensive and most effective marketing tactic.

  1. Colter 25/02/2016, 6:36:57 PM

    Zlatan, I love the theme of this article. Customer service should be the focus of any and all business, glad to see this being recognized. Also, love the choice here because between Aaron and Colin I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who does it better. I would also love to hear more about your choice on the word “guilt”. I may be unnecessarily thinking of guilt as a negative word, when that is not how you perceive it in this context. Would love to hear your thoughts on that.

    Quick side note, I have never been a proprietor myself of shopping local just to shop local. I truly believe that people should support good business regardless. The root of good business to me is its customer experience and I believe Regina is packed full of great businesses that just happen to be local. My point, don’t support Colin O’Brian because it is local, support it because it is a great business. Hands down the best menswear in town and I would gladly argue one of the best in the country. Keep up the good work!

    • Zlatan 25/02/2016, 6:37:16 PM

      Thank you for your feedback and great observation on the word guilt.

      I am being a bit liberal with the usage of it mainly to evoke reader curiosity. Colin’s and Aaron’s strategy isn’t to guilt us into doing the business with them. They provide exceptional customer service because they believe that this is how the business needs to be run. Still after their customer service I feel guilty not to do business with them. I was recently in West Edmonton Mall and walked by many beautiful menswear stores resisting the urge to buy.

  2. Jaren Bissett 25/02/2016, 6:38:20 PM

    I am local business owner and am able to have the best prices possibly and good customer service. I love fashion but also deals! 🙂

    • Zlatan 25/02/2016, 6:49:13 PM

      Hi Jared. Thank you for sharing your website. It is beautifully curated. I also LOVE your logo. Hope you back at our Insight pages.

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