Colleen Hannegan

Finding the words....and the perfect pair of glasses.

customer satisfaction

Old-Fashioned Customer Care

FeaturedColleen HanneganComment

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!

Remember your P's and Q's

FeaturedColleen HanneganComment

Please and Thank you! For 32 years in store management and ownership of my own optical dispensary, I kept a small, wire-bound notebook at my front desk. In it, I wrote down the name and phone number of every patient who took home a pair of new glasses.( I never counted how many small notebooks I filled in all those years!) It included the type of frame and lenses purchased so when I phoned them a week later to be sure they were happy  and satisfied, I could discuss the details of their purchase.

Sometimes they had a problem with the new prescription, or they were still getting used to the fit, and I would suggest they return for an adjustment or solve an issue over the phone. But 9 out of 10 clients were pleased with their purchase and doubly pleased with the follow up call.

Two things happened.

1.Problems, (if any) were nipped in the bud before they got too big or client became annoyed.

2.The clients second impression with their optical store was as good as their first impression. Somebody was listening to them. And appreciated their business. They felt special.

Every client who referred a friend or family member, received a hand written thank you note with two tickets to the movies or a gift card from Starbucks. Or they were  compensated with a discount on their next pair of glasses. It’s fair to say that thanking my best clients for their loyalty kept me in business during a few lean years. They appreciated being recognized for their support in keeping my business going.

Today we have newsletters and social media, FB, LinkndIn, Pinterest, blogs,  miraid ways of reaching out and keeping in touch with new and potential clients. I watch all things automated in offices today, appointments made on line, customer satisfaction surveys sent to their emails. Quick, quicker, fast, faster, no need to talk to anyone, or ask questions, it’s just you and the keyboard. If you don’t fill out the survey, the eye doctor’s office or retailer you purchased your new running shoes from, won’t know if you are happy with your purchase or not. They will be too busy being automated and SEO experts to want to take time to phone your home. I understand. It’s a bigger world today than when I started back in 1981.

But just in case you want to stand out in a”www” world and you think calling a few clients on the phone and asking about their recent purchase might be an idea whose time has come “back”, don’t be discouraged if they don’t answer the phone. Not many people do anymore. They only want to text.

But go ahead and leave a thank you message anyway. Tell them you appreciate their business and referrals and leave your number. It’s your best positive second impression.

“You glance at an email. You give more attention to a real letter.” Judith Martin “Miss Manners”

Want to see more sales? Create better client relations?

Get your clients attention. Way too many emails out there. Way too few thank you notes!!