When I walk into a store I am usually greeted with a "Good (part of the day), welcome to (insert store)." Warm words and a simple gesture go a long way with me. To me, simple nuances are what builds my brand loyalty and the likelihood I will return. When it comes down to it, customer service can exceed the lifetime of the product purchased. It also increases the possibility of recommendations and reviews, two essential areas that drive small business.
A while back, it was time to buy a new record player. The motor on my old Technics died and the cost to fix outweighed its value. I found a local repair shop and a cold sales/repairman that did little to educate me on the product. They were quick to push me towards a $600+ sale on refurbished equipment I knew nothing of. Put off, I left with a bad taste in my mouth. Searching around for other local shops, I stumbled on Indy CD & Vinyl.
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When I walked in, an employee greeted me with a "Hey, what's up." A young man with a flat-billed hat and a chill demeanor. I thought to myself, "he would work here" as I perused the selection of turntables. Not even minutes later the young man, Zach walked up to me, and my sales senses were tingling. But, a simple "How's your day going?" threw me so far off. We chatted about music, and he learned about my need for a new record player. I explained my recent interaction. He began to educate me with a thorough knowledge of each device. Overwhelmed would be an understatement. This guy was brilliant.
My initial thought was to keep my budget minimal. Within minutes he broke down the cost analysis of purchasing a top-tier model. I was sold. Before cashing out, Zach turned to me and said, "thank you for thinking of coming into our shop and purchasing a record player." The conversation went on about how it is so easy to order offline and disregard the local shops. As a thank you, they extended future discounts on products for supporting their business.
Simple interactions like this are milestones in small business. Of course, you could say this person was a good salesman, but I believe this is his passion, and for that, he never works a day in his life. Personal touches, personality, and tonality are all indicators of a successful business. What small businesses need to seek out are lasting impressions. Why would I go anywhere else when I know I will get knowledge, quality, and reciprocation for my support? Why would I order online and pay extra in shipping if I can pick it up and support locally? Because this company created an atmosphere that breeds brand loyalty.