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Old-Fashioned Customer Care

Colleen Hannegan

A SMILE and a friendly HELLO is the most common reason (59 percent) why consumers feel loyal towards small and independent retailers. Yet only 54 percent of small and medium size enterprises (SME) businesses stated their business employed this practice.

In this new study of over 2,000 consumers from Kingston University Small Business Centre, 36 percent of consumers said they were loyal to small retailers due to “brilliant customer service” and highly valued businesses remembering their usual order. (Bacon and egg quesadilla, no bacon, easy cheese, yes on the green sauce. My breakfast at Del Taco.)

Yet! Only around HALF of the SME respondents are taking advantage of their position to foster loyalty with shoppers.

“While the majority of decision makers recognize the importance of personal relations with customers, they are failing to develope their own customer loyalty strategies,” said Kingston University Professor Robert Blackburn. “SMEs should consciously build on their natural competitive advantage of being a smaller business as this can make a real difference to business survival and growth.”

Other tidbits of findings:

* Only 50 percent of SME respondents encourage referrals by their regular customers

*Sixty percent of consumers are willing to pay MORE! for a similiar product from a small independent retailer compared to a cheaper product from big box corporate retailers.

*Less than a third of respondents are retaining or growing their current customer base as their business’ main priority to achieve growth. (email addresses and contact information!)

I believe SMALL BUSINESS success is all about knowing your customers who walk in your front door and greeting them warmly. We all have our favorite digs that serve and satisfy our innate desire to connect, create community and supply our basic needs and wants.

Understanding SEO and FB and LinkedIn and weekly blogging and receiving positive postings on yelp are icing on the top of what should be your main ingredient……
good OLD-FASHIONED personalized, smiling, warm hearted, arms wide open (so to speak), efficient, effective, over-the-top excellence in delivering top quality goods and services.

Your wide world web is only as good as the smile and warm, heart-filled greeting behind it.

This note includes a big SMILE!
And a thank you for your referrals of friends and fellow business owners.

Stay cool this summer and find time to be renewed and restored by spending time in nature!