Giving something away for nothing

Over a number of years I have been cynically and reluctantly absorbed into the lycra-clad world that is road cycling. I started out on what my colleagues named the ‘road-warrior’. A knobbly-tyred off-road bike, perfect for the London commute.

Gradually the tyres got thinner, the frame got lighter and the clothes got tighter. Strava was installed and I was finally accepted into the fold.

Save for one thing.

The clippy shoes.

I had made-do with stirrups for fear of the inevitable clipped-in keel-over.

But this weekend I was lent a pair of clippy shoes and pedals for a London to Brighton bike ride and I felt I was finally ready to embrace them.

Sea Bass Cycles is just round the corner from our studio in Copeland Park so I swung round to see if they could fit in a pedal swap quickly before closing (it was late on Friday and the ride was first thing in the morning).

I thought maybe I’d leave it with them and come back in an hour or so, but they just chucked it straight onto the hanger, whipped off the old pedals, stuck on the new ones and pumped up the tyres.

“What’s the damage?” I asked

“They’re just pedals, don’t worry about it.”

I just feel like that doesn’t happen very much anymore.

We’ve just been dealing with solicitors who charge you for every phone call or email, and it’s refreshing to visit a business where that one small gesture creates a great bond, and means I’ll go back again — for a bigger job next time — a full service or a tighter jersey.

If you can create a positive customer experience, you’ll hold on to that customer for longer. That might mean giving something away for free, but there’s value in that relationship that’s worth nurturing.

Let the little fish go, catch the bigger fish later.

Matt is a director at Archive, a visual interactive studio creating digital experiments and online experiences in London.