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Small local businesses can compete with bigger high profile competition if they can give customer service that “wows” customers. It’s appreciated greatly by customers today and will encourage them to support local business when they’re made to feel special by those businesses make them feel special.
The key in doing so is to stand out from the competition. I could list hundreds of very specific things that local businesses can do to show their customers that they care about them and appreciate their business.
In this article, we’ll concentrate on one of those ways that really can make a difference: improving how your customers will perceive you and getting the all-important repeat business.
As a business, have your customers ever received personalized cards from you? My insurance agent sends me a birthday card every year with a handwritten message. I receive a recipe card every 3 months from my financial adviser(the recipe is one of his clients’). With it he includes a personalized handwritten note.
Even if I don’t especially care to get another birthday card the older I get, or need another recipe, I really do appreciate receiving these. Why? Because I know it took effort on their part and they actually gave me some thought instead of sending out a generic card (although that’s still better than nothing).
Here’s what it does. You’re building relationships with your customers. When you build relationships you get loyalty. And loyalty will give you repeat business AND referrals! There isn’t a business today that doesn’t want and need those.
In short- Customers will support local business if they feel the love.
Here are some tips in how to have a successful correspondence program with your customers:
1- Make sure you have their names and information, such as home address and email. You can do this by adding an opt-in subscription form to your website and postcards at your actual brick and mortar business.
2- When sending a card via the postal service, it’s important that it’s more than just a generic “thank you” card. It must give the “you’re special” feeling. Include a handwritten note with a personalized message.
3- If the communication is done via email it will lack some of the personalization that a handwritten card gives. You’ll have to make sure you add as much of a personal touch as possible to overcome this.
4- Send cards or email of thanks for a variety of reasons: to new customers, for customers who made a big purchase, to customers who give referrals, for customer birthdays, to long-term loyal customers, customer’s marriages or childbirth’s, etc.
5- Send a note to those who may not have bought yet, but are considering it (they’re probably also considering your competition).
6- Follow up in a timely fashion. If you wait too long- more than a week- it loses some of its luster.
Don’t hesitate to get a program like this going very soon. Customers will most definitely support local business if they are made to feel special and receive extra attention.