As a relatively new advocate for buying local, I am already reaping the rewards. Local is not exclusive to growers but to a variety of providers to the consumer. I live in a small community close to big city plazas and big box stores. Only recently, out of necessity and convenience, I started buying locally at smaller shops and grocers.
Not only am I enjoying fresh food, simplified shopping, and unique products but I am also experiencing exceptional customer service. Is it because many of those serving the customers are also the owners? Is it because many shops are family operated and have been in the community for decades? Is it because they have built a history of reliability, trust, and integrity? Is it because they call you by name when you return? Is it because they welcome customers with the warm smile of a close friend? Is it because you get value for your money from staff who sincerely care?
Yes, to all of these reasons, and more.
I read many books and magazines on the latest trends in building and sustaining client relationships to grow business and retain loyalty. Many of the writers are from the Harvard Business School, but sometimes the best ‘tried and true’ practices are good old-fashioned approaches found in our own backyards.
Benefts of good old-fashioned customer service:
- Always take time to exchange pleasantries.
- Staff is knowledgeable and courteous.
- Pride in their products and their brand.
- Keen awareness of a customer in search of an elusive item.
- Communicate with customer instead of chatting with colleagues.
- Patience is extended in helping the customer make a decision.
- Share your joy in the discovery of the perfect product.
- You are escorted to a desired item rather than being pointed in a vague direction.
- If a product is not available an alternate suggestion is made or they special order.
- Offer unique products and express enthusiasm for their special attraction.
- Remember your previous purchases and ask for your feedback
If you have experienced additional benefits of local customer service I would love to hear from you.