BUSINESS TRACK: Leverage your small town appeal with customers

Most customers, whether they are consumers or business, shop in a place they know has the product, based on price and where they are known

Building a relationship with your customers involves more than simply putting them on an e-mail newsletter list.

When was the last time a customer told you how exceptional your service was? As a customer, how often do you vote with your feet based on your experience? In this new economic realty it is fundamental to any business to forge relationships that will build sales.

In his Ted Talk, marketing guru John Gerzema talks about the post-crisis consumer. He lists four shifts in values of consumerism: déclassé consumption, ethics and fair play, durable living and cooperative consumerism. He notes consumers are educated to marketing techniques and are looking to reconnect with how they spend their money. This is a 180 degree shift from the mass consumerism that we have all witnessed prior to the economic crisis that has come in waves to our community.

Most customers, whether they are consumers or business, shop in a place they know has the product, based on price and where they are known. Beyond the product they are looking for respect and to be valued as part of the experience.

Building a relationship is more than ensuring customers are on the e-newsletter list or carry your loyalty card; it is about building a future transaction or referral. Creating a positive and engaged experience develops the relationship.

On April 19, Worldhost Master Trainer Suzanne Carter brought her customer service expertise to the Chamber luncheon. She shared a great story about an amazing customer experience that she had in Mission though she lives in North Vancouver.

Suzanne was thinking of buying a Jeep and had time to kill before meeting her parents for dinner at Mission Springs, so she stopped in at Pioneer Chrysler. In her story, she relayed how well she had been treated and how the salesperson valued her time and interest. The outcome was she bought the Jeep and continued to have it serviced in Mission as long as she owned it, even though she lived over an hour away.

Suzanne’s story illustrates how one interaction can leverage further business, but by sharing it with the group, how referral stems from these positive experiences.

Being viewed as a “small town”, Mission has a competitive edge to attract business by leveraging the customer service experience. Building on Suzanne’s testimony, it was this individual customer care that caused her to act as a consumer. This sense of value that we can communicate to any customer changes how our business is viewed.

So are you leveraging your “small town” appeal? Do your customer walk away feeling valued?

Build your customer experience skills further on May 31 and join Worldhost Master Trainer Suzanne Carter for Worldhost Training. For more information call 604-826-6914.