What Mom & Pop Shops Can Teach Big Business
Think of your favorite family-owned business. Growing up it might have been the convenience store on the corner or the diner down the street. Despite consolidation and competition from big businesses, mom-and-pop shops are still around – and thriving.
Show Your Passion
Spend any amount of time with a small business owner and they might start down an endless conversation about their business – from how they got started, to the people they meet, and even some of the challenges. Through the good, bad, and ugly, their passion to make it a success is evident. When you are leader of a large corporation, maintaining a personal passion for your business can be difficult. However, it is critical your employees see your personal investment and passion in the company, because that’s a strong motivating force for them to believe in the company’s potential for long-term success and prosperity.
Are your employees as passionate as the founders or its’ leaders? Not sure? Uncover the answers with an employee survey.
Form a Relationship
A first name basis relationship with every customer might not be practical for your business, but there are other ways to personalize a relationship in service-related industries. Companies need to be able to track customers from the first purchase and beyond. A strong customer relationship management plan assesses your weaknesses and creates a structure that every employee can follow. These strategies help you use customer purchase history to predict future needs and determine what obstacles might lead them out of the buying funnel. If customers receive non-relevant information or too many sales messages, you can easily find yourself with a host of one-time buyers.
Here are a few examples of how to create relationships from Inc.com:
- Online Communities, Forums, and Social Media
- Rewards and Loyalty Programs
- Enhanced Customer Service
- Share Human Experiences
- Be Flexible
Admit Your Faults
Word-of-mouth marketing is the bread and butter for small businesses because they don’t have large advertising budgets. Each customer can be their biggest advocate or biggest critic, and that creates a sense of urgency to solve problems quickly. The next customer could be their last. A sound customer base doesn’t shield you from bring wrong – just ask Mini Cooper USA. The company accidentally spammed customers with hundreds of emails. They followed the incident with a unique apology that wouldn’t have been possible if they had not established a prior relationship. Admitting mistakes and fixing problems can result in some of the best publicity your company can get – but you have to be nimble and empower your frontline employees to make decisions that result in customers feeling valued.
Remember Who You Are
All owners and leaders have goals for their businesses – profitability, longevity, and product quality to name a few. However, losing sight of what makes you unique in your industry can be detrimental to your organization’s ability to attain those goals. As your company looks to expand physically or explore a new product offering, remember the principles that led to your successes and the decisions that may have created failures. To make sure your business stays on track, consider these things:
- Go back to the basics
- Hold routine meetings with your management team
- Develop a plan for consistency
- Conduct internal reviews of your company and customer base
- Never forget why customers like you
The customer service surveys that NBRI develops are customized to fit your goals and gather data that helps you emphasize your unique selling propositions. Our process includes action planning, and regularly resurveying, to ensure your survey scores are improving as a result of your improvement initiatives. For more information about how to keep your business on track for the long term, contact us today.