PMSA board member
To me, customer service in a small town comes easily because most patrons are neighbors and friends. The personal relationship a business owner establishes with their clientele in a small town is far and away the most important marketing they could ever possibly do.
Most retail businesses in small town America today don’t have the buying leverage to compete with the so-called, big-box stores. Unfortunately the big-box environment leaves no time or place for personal interaction.
You might get the occasional “hello” from a cashier, quickly followed by “next.” The only advantage small business has over their larger competitors is customer service. That is what you have to sell in a small town.
Patrons often frequent small town businesses because they feel as if they know the owner. They like to be asked how they are doing, how their children or grandchildren are doing, etc. We can’t compete on a profit vs. loss basis with the big guys, but we can crush them when it comes to customer service.
We care because we hope to see you again. We want you to leave feeling like you had a good experience, not racing to your car because “some kid” made you feel like an idiot.
I am fortunate in my business to have clients who travel to my shop from larger communities because they know when they walk in they will be made to feel special. I’m not thinking about who will walk in next or how many will walk in all day.
I am thinking about them. So Peabody business owners, the next time someone comes into your store, make sure to greet them with a smile and good all around customer service.
It’s the one advantage you have!