In legal circles, the debate rages on about “corporate personhood,” the idea that corporations share the same rights as individuals. The notion of a corporation as a person conflicts squarely with the highly impersonal nature with which corporations typically conduct business and make business decisions. But small businesses have an advantage here. Developing personal relationships in small business is much easier, and much more integral to a small business’ survival strategy.
4 tips for promoting more personal relationships in small business
For small businesses, the only thing that can replace a lost customer is a new customer, and new customers can be pretty hard to come by! Making sure that The Customer is happy is critical in the small business world, and personal relationships in small business are the cornerstones of this approach. Here are a few tips for making sure you can make the most of your opportunities to create personal relationships in small business.
Reach out to your customers regularly. In today’s world of spam, junk mail and the seemingly endless parade of robocalls, you might think that people are ready for a break. While it’s true that people who don’t currently patronize your business may not want to hear from you, your existing customers are a different story. If they’ve established a business relationship with you, they want to hear from you. Send them a periodic email, a newsletter, news of special offers, coupons, sales and other business-related events. Always provide a way to opt-out of these communications, but beauty of this approach is that you end up with an updated list of customers who are genuinely interested in what your business has to offer.
Every customer interaction is an opportunity to make a positive impression. Whether the customer is on the phone, in the store or online, every contact is an opportunity to leave a good (or bad) impression. Create customer service standards that support personal relationships in small business. Address the customer by name, if possible. Engage them in conversation and let them know that you’re there to help.
Let the customer speak. By far, one of the most effective ways to cultivate personal relationships in small business is by letting the customer make his (or her) voice heard. Listening to what the customer has to say can help you tailor your product or service strategy, improve your service delivery and make it easy for your customers to prefer your business over other choices they may have. Listen to your customer and let them know that they’ve been heard.
Recognize and reward your customers. When customer find a business they like, they tend to offer repeat business of their own, and let other potential customers know about their experiences. Establish customer rewards and customer loyalty programs to ensure that you retain business and let the customer know how much they mean to you. Customer loyalty programs cost less than marketing programs designed to locate new customers do, so loyalty/rewards programs can be a win-win, and support your goal of establishing personal relationships with your customers.
If you would like more information about how you can take advantage of the power of personal relationships in small business, please contact our Creative Director, Dave Ramsell or give Dave a call at (330) 243-0651 to set up a consultation.
Photo Credit: theswedish, via FreeImages.com