Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away."   Doug Warner

... or a call away, a block away, an advertised sale away ...  
Although Mr. Warner may be referring to internet customer service the truth is that, whether we're clicking it or walking it, Main Street is bigger than ever.  Even savvy business owners can no longer be confident that their customers are captive audiences, as theirs' isn’t the only game in town.  Customer service is more important than ever.  It not only keeps one's customers coming back, but it's often the linchpin for drawing new customers through the door. 

Here are a few basic rules to not only draw new customers, but new-to-you customers!
To thine own self be true.  Bill Shakespeare must have owned a small book store!  Remember when all this began?  Remember your great idea, your enthusiasm for the products you carry or the service you provide?  Get back there!  Being true to your mission statement, true to your dream, will instantly provide a certain level of service that your customers will feel, respond to and (better yet) spread the word about.  Trite but true:  Your business is a clear reflection of who you are.  When people feel comfortable with you, they feel comfortable working with you.

Whatever you are, be a good one.  If you are the Mom and Pop diner with your storefront nestled between the florist and the hardware store, don't try to be the shiny new giant Starbucks down the street.  Know that there is a service you provide that can't be -- and isn't being -- duplicated by a competitor.  Know your niche and embrace it rather than putting your efforts into becoming something else.  Abe Lincoln's homespun wisdom seemed to work for him!

Would Macy's tell Gimble's ....?  Run your own race, but keep your eyes open.  When seeking to draw (and you should seek to draw!) clients who are unhappy with the service a competitor is offering, first take a look at what exactly that service is.  Do your research.  Pull some of your competitors' brochures.  Visit their web sites.  How are you the same and where do you differ?  How can you differ?  What client-base isn't being served?  Armed with your competitors' marketing strategies, it will be easier to see what's worked and what hasn't. 

Make new friends, but keep the old!  There is little that frustrates a long-time customer more than finding your storefront emblazoned with a banner offering special discounts to new customers.  Should you advertise to welcome them?  Absolutely!  That being said, you may want to herald in your campaign targeting new customers at the same time you offer a customer appreciation celebration.  Want a little more bang for your buck? -- run your customer appreciation week immediately prior to your welcoming-new-customer offers.  Your current customers will feel you thought of them first -- and your new customers are likely to have seen how you value your old customers, as well. 

Revisiting the core of your business -- who you are -- is the fastest route to becoming who you want to be and will provide invaluable insights into how to get there.

The Cordial Greetings Team encourages you to take your lead from the budding trees and flowers around you  -- make this be the spring your business blooms brightly!

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