- It is always easiest to sell more to those who are already buying your product or service;
- You are more likely to sell to new customers who are much like the customers you already have or have been referred to you by current customers; and
- It is hardest to sell to new people about whom you have little information.
Have you ever had a friend tell you about poor service they experienced at a restaurant or a retail store and learned that they were telling you something they never said to the owner of the business?
Mistakes occur in any business situation. The challenge is to learn about these mistakes and then to do something to acknowledge the error to your customer and apologize. If you’re a customer and you’re not satisfied, ask to talk to an owner or manager and let that person know about the problem. If it’s a business that really cares about customer service, your comments will be appreciated and responded to.
If you’re the business owner and you hear of a problem, or you are aware that something has gone wrong (for example, if you have a restaurant and the service hasn’t been efficient), if possible, talk directly to the customer, acknowledge the problem, and offer something as an apology. You can also make it clear to your employees how important it is for them to say something when there’s a problem and to give your employees the authority to do something to rectify the mistake.
Good customer service means no one ever leaves your business dissatisfied.
I don’t remember how long ago I heard someone say, “I’m going to America tomorrow.” I soon learned that many on the island use the term to mean taking the ferry across and dealing with the traffic and stress of going there to run some errands and/or do shopping.
Of course, there is a recognition that the “big box” stores over there have more selection and, often, lower prices.
But for many of us, it is also important to support our local businesses. There definitely is an ethic here, that I am sure is true of other small, connected communities, that doing our part to make the local businesses successful is often more important than going for the selection and the prices at the big boxes.
We are fortunate on Whidbey to also have many businesses that make their own products (coffee, wines, foods, crafts….to mention a few), and the quality is usually excellent. To have an idea of the diversity of the business community we have on Whidbey, take a look at the Business Spotlight on Whidbey Local (https://www.whidbeylocal.com/articles/1/5243).
There is also a lot to be said for feeling good about helping someone else. I like to buy locally and know that I am playing a small part in helping a small business thrive on Whidbey.