Sound advice is one of the services customers seek when they hire a professional. That advice can be hard to give when it means lower revenues for the service provider. Nonetheless, Paul Arpin Van Lines, located in West Warwick, R.I., is committed to looking after the customer's interests -- even if it's at the company's expense. According to John Leistritz, vice president of marketing, helping customers avoid unnecessary expense and stress generates repeat and referral business that leads to long-term profitability.

What's Arpin's suggestion to customers? Move fewer items. The van line's moving guide warns that one of the biggest mistakes people make is to take everything they own. The company advises people to be "ruthless" about selling or donating every questionable item--strong advice from a company that gets paid to move stuff.

Arpin's advice has paid off by fueling long-term revenue growth--a $25-million increase in one year. Leistritz says customers often thank the company for convincing them to leave belongings such as firewood and junk cars because the cost of moving them exceeds their replacement cost. A less costly (and less stressful) move for clients means reputation, referrals, and long-term profits for the van line.

Copyright 1997 G+J USA Publishing