I needed to shop for some carpet for my newly made-over dining room, and started with my local carpet store. The first thing I did was check out their website to see if there were any sales. The only reason I checked locally was because my husband suggested it. I already had a store in mind because of the great customer service I had received in the past. My choice was 33 miles away.
The first thing I see on their home page was a sale running from April to May. It was September. I didn’t give up right away, but after I saw a second sale, running from May to June, I gave up. That took all of 10 seconds, maybe less. In that short time, that business lost my business. If they couldn’t keep their website up to date, what were they telling me about their customer service.
We’re always hearing “shop locally” but is anyone telling the local merchants what it takes to keep customers shopping locally? I value my dollars, and as a consumer, I’m going to spend as wisely as I can, locally or not. I’m not looking for the cheapest product; I’m looking for the best value for my dollar. That means good service and a good product for what I’m willing to pay.
Onto my choice for carpet: a national brand store. I didn’t pick this store because of its size. I picked this store because I had received great service for a few carpet remnants I bought in the past. For my patronage, the sales person mailed me a coupon for $100 with a $1000 purchase with no expiration date. That was three years ago.
First stop, the website. I didn’t see any specials, but what I did see was a blog. Yes, a blog. How to clean up pet stains, how to clean up mud, how to make a move easier. This company wanted to help their customers by providing useful information. The blog archives went back to 2012. Here was a company that understood the importance of caring for their customers. They wanted to build a relationship and not settle for a one time transaction.
If you’re a small business start thinking like a big business. It’s not that expensive to add a blog to your website. If you have someone who can write, it costs you nothing but time. If you do hire someone, shy away from the content mills. You get what you pay for, and you website will take a hit with its reputation.
Plan to invest in a good writer and pay for quality content.
Isn’t it time you realize the potential of creating great customer relationships?