Barry Moltz is my co-author on the book Small Town Rules. He was a great friend to work with and helped me immensely in understanding the book publishing process. Barry knows a lot about small towns. Even though he lives in Chicago, he’s got a strong small town connection. –Becky
By Barry Moltz
I grew up in a small town in northwestern Connecticut where I can still remember their customer service. Wherever I went, retailers knew my name and welcomed me into their store. They remembered what I had bought before and what I might want to buy in the future. When I moved to Chicago over 30 years ago, I lost that experience. Now when I shop at a faceless franchise store, they only call me “sir” even if I have been there many times before.
However, technology now makes it possible for every small business owner to practice the “amazing customer service” we could only expect in small towns. With these tools, every company can give their customers the small town experience.
Greet Them By Name. This made the customer feel special. There is nothing that a person likes to hear more than the sound of their own name. This was easy when there were a small set of customers who would repeatedly visit a business. Now, even when thousands of customers that can be serviced over the Internet, cookies embedded in web browser technology can call every visitor by name and make “personal recommendations”.
Get Questions Answered. Call up the company in any small town and they answer the phone. Now, a customer can help themselves get quick answers through online Q&A, videos or chat. Studies show that most customers prefer to help themselves find the answer than be dependent on reaching someone at the company.
Get Products Fast. It was simple in a small town. A customer visited a store and brought their purchases home with them. Getting products to customers fast has always been a priority for every business. Now standard two day shipping and new same day delivery is becoming popular.
Buying Clothes. Customers enjoyed going to the store in a small town to try clothes on and discuss the best choices with the sales person. Now, online customers can upload their photo and sizes to web sites to have personal online shoppers help them.
Hearing Complaints. It was easy in a small town to have complaints heard by the manager or owner. Now, for all small businesses, customers are complaining to companies through Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and Trip Advisor and getting answers!
How does your business practice Small Town Customer Service?
Barry Moltz gets small businesses unstuck. He is an author, motivational speaker, radio host and small business consultant. He can be found at www.barrymoltz.com. Barry is sponsored by Nextiva. www.Nextiva.com provides small businesses with a unified communication system in the cloud. Small Biz Survival did not receive any sponsorship.
Greytip Online says
Thanks Barry, it is simple and relevant article with good thoughts on customer service
Now a days, at least online stores started realizing to keep the personal flavor (sending b’day wishes, greet by name etc)
Becky McCray says
Thanks, Greytip. Any business of any size can work on improving their personal connection with customers.
STEVEN J. FROMM, ATTORNEY, LL.M. (TAXATION) says
Great article. My father owned dry cleaning stores so these points were ones practiced every day. I learned them from working there. I now apply them as an attorney. Who would have thought that working in a dry cleaning store would have anything to do with the practice of law?
Becky McCray says
Steven, I’m glad your early lessons are still serving you well. Customers are still people!
Zac Pagin says
Business is the ancient barter system getting blown out of proportion with time and change. Sometimes, its best to think traditional when dealing with customers. Cheers
Becky McCray says
Zac, that’s a really interesting way to think about business. Thanks for adding it.