I'm still surprised at what a big impact a small thing can have on a person's life. Relating just to our simple little ball cap business, I see it much more often than I would expect. I wonder how many other online retailers get personal emails from their customers...thanking them, or telling their stories, or sharing the impact of just one small purchase.
What brought this home recently, was the return of a ball cap order. A customer bought an American Captain's ball cap for his 82 year old father. It was just before Christmas, and he got the address wrong....it wasn't going to get there for the Holidays. He emailed me, and I simply boxed up another and sent it to the corrected address. I didn't charge him, and just said "it'll probably come back to me." Well, three months later it was returned. I was a bit amused that it finally made its way home, so I emailed the customer to let him know and to ask about how his Dad liked the hat. He said that it was the best gift he could have given him, and that his Dad wore it "all the time". Then he added the "Dad was even wearing it when he died, two weeks ago!"
That just floored me. Knowing something so small that I did (which was just routine business) would have such an impact. I emailed him back sending my condolences, and reminded him how lucky he was to have had his father for as long as he did, telling him how I lost my Dad when I was 28.
His Dad was a retired pilot, and even in the last few months of his life he held on to that pride, and maybe even re-lived a few of the good-old-days.
So we don't have a bottom line. We don't worry about our profits, even though year-over-year profits have consistently grown (by 40% again last year). We haven't raised our prices or cut corners. We just do the right thing, every sale, and every time. So our largest profit margin is achieved by those emails and occasional phone calls, with a story, a thank you or just a silly "pilot joke". Thanks to all of our friends and customers who make it worth while!