Brad Smith, Executive Vice President, Customer Experience, Sage North America
If you’ve been watching the news lately, you’ve probably seen that big box retailers are already slashing their prices in anticipation for Black Friday, and with good reason: shaky consumer confidence has many people on edge heading into this holiday season – businesses big and small alike.
But what if I told you that as a small business owner, you have the advantage over those retailers? An advantage, because when you think about it, business is about relationships, and small businesses typically have stronger ties with their local communities than do their larger counterparts. In fact, for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 stays within the community in the form of wages, local taxes, and spending on other local business while building those relationships. The amount of money staying in the community for every $100 spent at a nonlocal business is much lower – at $43! As a local business owner you should be giving extra attention and thought to your customer relationships now more than ever. Maintaining these relationships at a level that humanizes your business transactions helps build loyalty and increases your customers’ confidence not only in your business, but also in your community and the economy as a whole.
The upcoming Small Business Saturday on November 30th presents a great opportunity for owners to connect face to face with existing and prospective customers in order to gain instant and long-term sales and happy customers.
One of the main things to remember is to make your actions and activities personal. You need to take a moment to understand what your customers need and the experience they want to have with your business. If you’ve lost touch with past customers or feel your business is not connecting on a personal level with existing buyers, utilize Small Business Saturday as a kick-off to regain or establish that personal, more emotional relationship with your customers. That way, when consumers have to make choices about where and with whom they want to spend their money, they’ll be more likely to choose the business they know well and trust.
With this in mind, make sure you are connecting with and giving customers the experience they want all year long and not just during the holiday season. Your customers will appreciate the time and thought you have dedicated to making their visits enjoyable, and will thank you with their loyalty, referrals, and continued business.
About the Author
Brad Smith is executive vice president customer experience for Sage North America. He is responsible for developing all aspects of the Sage commitment to the customer experience from product design to the invoice experience and all touchpoints in between. Mr. Smith is responsible for all aspects of North American customer support.