There’s just something about a small business, isn’t there? You walk in the door and are usually greeted with a “Hello!” and a warm smile. They’re willing to help you find what you’re looking for. They make you feel like they need your business…because they do.
But don’t we all need our customers? Sometimes we don’t act like it. We sometimes try, and sometimes fake it, but it’s harder than it seems. It’s the reason why I enjoy walking into a local Ace Hardware store. I just know that I am going to get personal attention from knowledgeable associates who don’t make me feel as if I asked a stupid question (even though most of the time it’s about something I have no experience with…and it is a stupid question).
It’s very hard to replicate that small business experience because it needs to be genuine. Small business owners are genuine because they usually really love what they’re doing. Many times, it’s a dream come true to own their own business, and they’re very good at what they do.
The Proof is in the TrainingSo, if we can’t replicate it, how do we make the customer experience genuine at our own companies? Well, I think the answer lies in the training. We usually spend a lot of time training associates on systems and tasks but forget to have them thoroughly understand their audience and customers. I feel it’s important to encourage my team to T.L.A.C. (think like a customer), as that will help them do their jobs better.
It’s also a good idea to encourage your associates to be customers of your company (when it makes sense). Seems simple, right? It is, but we all get so caught up in the day to day that it can easily get pushed to the backburner.
Making Connections on the Customer JourneyI find that most of the time, when a marketing campaign doesn’t work the way we planned, it’s because of the customer’s journey and something doesn’t make sense.
Connecting with customers may be a bit more difficult at larger companies because individual associates need to do their part, but it’s not impossible. When you look for the connection and passion, it’s usually there (most of the time in the Customer Service department), but in order for it to be felt by customers, everyone has to live it. It’s too important not to. I have T.L.A.C. written on my whiteboard so I remember to develop my campaigns in a way that will show our customers we need their business…because we do.
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