An Easy Way for Small Businesses to Beat the Big Guys

by Ed Martin on December 10, 2009

I spent extra time this week trying to shop at some local small businesses with mixed amounts of success. The frustrating experiences I had remind me of a way that small businesses can compete against and beat the big boys, and make me wonder why so many small businesses fail to use it to their advantage.

Are you being served?
Big businesses, box box stores and big brands all have a weakness that small businesses can exploit. The big guys aren’t very good at personalized service. Mainly because they are, you know, big. They don’t have to know your name. They get some many customers it doesn’t matter whether you are happy with your shopping experience because there will be someone else coming along to take your place soon enough.

Small businesses can run circles around the big guys when it comes to serving the customer. I go to a store by my house regularly where they greet me by name when I come in. I know that it is just a ploy, but still I appreciate that little extra effort they took to learn my name and to say hello and good-bye.

Or take the example of calling a big business on the phone and getting stuck in automated customer service hell, versus having somebody, a real person, answer the phone. That is what a small business can do. No more say or speak my account number 5 times just so that when I actually do reach someone they will ask me to repeat it all over again.

Running the extra mile
I was in a running store recently and saw some great examples of the kind of customer service that makes people loyal a shoppers. The sales people spend time talking with each customer in detail about what they need and what problems they have. They take some time to get to know their customers.  They actually listen and make suggestions based on what the customer tells them. What a nove approach!Sure, I paid a little extra for my shoes, but I felt confident that I had made a good choice and got some extra value because of the time they spent with me.

So please, exploit this advantage. Give personal attention to all of your customers be it on the phone, in person or online. They will appreciate it and reward you with their business.

You can find some more ideas for great service by knowing what customers want and by giving customers more than they expect.

Not providing good service is one of the common reasons businesses fail. Sign up for my MicroBiz Made Simple newsletter and receive a free copy of my report Succeed By Not Failing: The 50 most common reasons businesses fail and how to avoid them.

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