It’s mission critical state. Small businesses have got to pull customer’s attention away from on-line retailers and easy one-click Black Friday sales specials. It might seem an insurmountable task as so many customers are stuck at home and tied to their computers. Giant retailers have scads of money to pour into ads that draw customers’ attention. How do we draw their eyes and ears back to local businesses? Do we have any type of home court advantages?
Small Business Advantages that Capture Holiday Shoppers
Locally owned and operated small businesses have something that big corporations will never be able to steal. They may have deep pockets, but we have real people.
Your customers are connected to real people with your business. These real people are friends, neighbors, students, and community leaders. There are a couple advantages small businesses have. They’re called loyalty and community. We need to utilize our “home court” advantage.
Small businesses need to steal a few lessons from the big retail team’s playbook, like making online shopping easy. Small businesses also need to tap into the community and loyalty advantages in order to boost sales, not only for this upcoming shopping frenzy season, but for the long haul.
3 Areas to Shore Up Your Business for the Holiday Shopping Season
Here are three areas to look at to give your business a quick “customer service health check” as we enter into this busy holiday season.
Let’s use our home court advantage and make sure our customers are getting the best customer experience possible!
Business Health Check #1: Your Online Presence
Walk through your online platforms as if you were a customer.
- If I want to shop in store, are safety guidelines clear on your website, Google, Yelp, etc.?
- If I want to shop online is it easy and user friendly? Make gift cards easily available and visually attractive with your branding. Have a “shopping cart” experience that is fun, simple, and easy to use.
- If I have a question do you make it simple and QUICK for me to contact someone?
(When I do place an order, be certain to capture my email address! This is gold. You must have a system to consistently communicate with your customers via email.)
Business Health Check #2: Communication Channels
What are your customer communication channels? I recommend email plus one social media. (You want to manage the channels you choose well. Don’t chase the shiny penny and try to utilize all of them. Engage regularly with interesting and valuable content.)
Do you consistently engage with email and Social Media? Customers want to hear from you. Are you adding value to your customers and not always just promoting sales?
- Use statistics to educate your customers about the value small businesses give to their communities. Use this one! “Approximately 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business remains in your local community.” Businesswire.com
- Share a story about your business sponsoring a local event, contributing to a local food bank, buying wreaths from a local kid.
- Connect your customers with your story.
- Connect your customers with your staff’s story (are they saving for college, have they been with your business for years, what is their background, why they love working for your business, etc.).
Engage: Communication is a two-way street
- Ask your customers questions to increase engagement:
- send them a survey
- post their reviews (with their permission) and thank them publicly.
Hold a contest, post a trivia question, solicit selfie photos with them holding their favorite product from your store.
Business Health Check #3: Prepare Employees to Give Great Customer Service
If this part of business is lacking, then other efforts are wasting both time and money.
We MUST train employees on how to make people feel welcomed. Customers must feel that staff is excited to see them and glad they’ve chosen to shop locally.
- Practice: Run through scenarios with your staff. It can be quick. Role play is corny and awkward, but it works!
- Get Cheeky: Show staff what great customer service is NOT. Break the ice and increase learning speed by getting a little goofy. They’ll get the point.
- Honor: With permission (not everyone loves to be in the spotlight), give some kudos to staff that have gone the extra mile for a customer. Talk about the specific event. Leading by example is always helpful.
Finally, after a customer has made their purchase, let’s not ‘love them and leave them’. Customers, community, want to support local businesses, our friends and neighbors. Make 100% certain that you capture customer contact information and they’re purchasing or even browsing your business. The holiday shoppers are golden opportunities to convert people to raving fans of your business.
You need a plan to communicate with them after the holidays in order to continue the relationship. They need to hear from you after they’ve made their purchase, given their gift, the wrapping is strewn on the floor, and the holidays are over. This is not a one-night stand. It is, to quote ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’, a “long-term commitment”.
Free Guide to Help you Check Your Business Health Before the Holidays!
Could your business use a guide to help walk you through a quick Health Check for the holidays?
Download your free Customer Service Health Check guide! The 16 page guide:
- Walks you through each area, step by step with guiding questions to test your businesses health
- Gives practical ideas and training tools to utilize and implement changes in your business
- Assists in planning manageable, actionable items to help you start making progress and feel accomplished!
Click HERE to get started today!!
Samantha works with business owners helping to ‘tame the overwhelm’, assisting with customer acquisition & retention, employee training & retention, and honing your Customer Experience so it kicks butt.
She conducts workshops and training in hospitality, Customer Experience, and creating a culture in the workplace that inspires and motivates employees and customers.
There’s untapped, untrained power in your staff just waiting to be unleashed to help grow your business! Grab a copy of the eBook and Guide: First Impressions Matter to equip staff and grow your business today.