An email this morning from April at Blacksburg Belle got me thinking about something that is happening in my town.
Our local independent supermarket is about to be challenged by a new supermarket owned by a large national chain. Now normally, I would be shouting from the roof tops to support the little guy instead of the big guy but in this case I just can't do that.
Each week I drive 25 minutes down the hill to do my groceries instead of the 6 minutes I could drive to do it at the independent.
The independent just doesn't provide and service that the big guy does. I don't feel like they value me as a customer so I have moved on.
I think this lesson can be learnt by all small businesses, including me here at The Haby Goddess. We have a lot to prove in the craft/handmade industry as we are competing with established retail chains that mass produce items, more often than not at a cheaper price.
1. We will over time, all make mistakes, either with a wrong or faulty order. Be quick to fix it. Apologise. Act like you care. Be honest. Most customers will be forgiving to a business where they feel they have done what they can to solve a problem or dispute.
2. Friendliness is key. Be approachable and make sure your customers can contact you easily.
3. Provide a quality product or service far superior to what's available from the big guys.
4. Offer a customer service standard not offered by the large companies in your industry. I like article by Alli at Motivating Mum about being served at a Service Station! Some of us will even remember them cleaning our windscreen.
5. KEEP YOUR PROMISES
It is likely that the independent will struggle against the big guy and I really wish this wasn't the case, it goes against everything I wish for.
Where do you think small independent businesses can improve?