Believe it or not, as a small business, you have some advantages over large businesses. For instance, you are nimbler, not needing to hold a dozen meetings to add to your inventory or adjust your marketing messaging. You’re closer to your market. Heck, you probably are part of your market.
Yet, you may not be taking advantage of opportunities that come from being “small.” You can provide customer service in your business that is more useful and intelligent than what a larger business could even hope for. Consider the most obvious, post-sale followup.
When someone buys something from a megabusiness, they provide their email address to receive confirmations, shipping advices, etc. Megabusiness will also use the email channel as an opportunity to cross-sell with recommendations for complementary products. They’ve built up razzle-dazzle automated systems to do this and they can be very effective. But they are automated and run unattended. This means that the customer often gets recommendations to buy the same thing they just bought or, worse, something better than what they bought at a lower price (returns are expensive). In short, they make it rather obvious that they are not trying to help as much as to simply sell you more.
As a small business, you have the opportunity to beat the computerized razzle-dazzle system at its own game.
When you sell a product, invite the customer to let you stay in touch via their email address. You can offer email-only discounts, a periodic newsletter and advance notices of new products and events as a means of encouraging this. Be sure to add their name and email address to a list and make note of what they purchased and what you learned about that customer’s needs. At the end of each day, go through this information and send out thank you emails that include knowledgeable recommendations for other products you sell as well as advice on how to get the most out of what they already purchased. After a while, you will build up some standard boilerplates that you can cut-n-paste into future emails.
Of course, you can also do this via postal mail for those customers who prefer it, although, unlike email, postal mail requires more effort and a bit o’ cost (envelopes, postage and a trip to the post office or mailbox).
Start today. Print and place your Customer Email Register at your checkout counter and start creating your own customer service razzle-dazzle!