I recently walked your typical box store for all things electronic. A nice young guy greeted me at the door and welcomed me to the store, asked me if he could help me find anything — you know, the basic kindness he’s been trained to say for his job. I was looking for a flat screen TV so I wandered over to the department to have a look. While I knew that I wanted a flat screen, I really didn’t know the first thing about them. So I looked aimlessly at the various models, trying to decipher some of the techno-jargon on the hang tags. Nothing jumped out at me. No one jumped out at me either. There wasn’t a sales person around for miles (except the nice guy at the front door, who was still greeting people as they walked in). I have high expectations when it comes to service. While it may not be the same, I expect the same level of service in a box store that I do when I’m spending a night in a high-end hotel. In reality, I might be paying two to three times more for that flat screen than one night in a comfy room at the hotel. But while my expectations are the same for both cases, in reality, there’s a pretty good chance I’m not going to receive that same high level of service. In today’s economy, you must pay attention to your customers’ expectations, perceived or otherwise. Now more than ever, your customers are going to look to the level of service they will receive as part of their decision making process, looking for that exceptional VAR willing to go the extra mile every time. Make sure your silver tray is always polished.