In Connecticut, the Small Business Administration is making a point to honor Geissler’s Supermarkets. I would like to explain why you should care.
It was not lost on me, reading the Hartford Courant article linked above, that customer service is mentioned seemingly dozens of times in the text. That’s because Geissler’s has made that commitment, according to its owner:
“That’s the way my grandfather started it — he tried to take care of the customers,” Nilsson said. “Everyone was on a first name basis.”
It’s not just knowing everyone’s name, in the style of Cheers. The chain, which has seven grocery stores in all, focuses on delivering to customers outside of its walls, especially the elderly, and continuity staff so shoppers feel comfortable and welcome in the stores. They also take special orders.
How can you draw a parallel to your own business? Easily. All you have to do is use common sense and care about making a connection. Small businesses are heavily reliant on their customers, so emphasizing services tailored to your customer base and personal connections can make an enormous difference. If you’re competing with big box stores that offer lower prices and the convenience of finding literally anything you can imagine under one roof (“is that a bicycle next to that can of soup?!”), providing a pleasant customer experience is your best shot.
We can’t all get awards from the Small Business Administration, but we can all serve our customers better and reap the very real rewards that come with that. Tell us about your customer service efforts in the comments, if you would.
Photo credit to dantini at http://www.sxc.hu/photo/173044