So you’re a small business and you see commercial after commercial after commercial from the big guys and wonder how you can compete. You see Flo from Progressive, the GIECO Gecko, The GIECO Cavemen, Lily from AT&T, heck, even Mr. Whipple from the 1970’s. They all jam the airwaves of TV and radio to shamelessly promote their products. But you know what your small business has that they don’t? A REAL personality. And I’m guessing, a REAL passion for the products and services you offer your clients… and I’m also guessing that as a small business, you actually know your customers personally – and if they call – you actually pick up the phone! That is how you compete.
Let me tell you a little story about why I love doing business with small businesses.
My wife and I moved into a great new apartment and we needed to get internet service. We left one of the big carriers to try a different carrier because we didn’t like the customer service (or lack of customer service actually) we had been getting. So we call up the new carrier and of course they tell us they can take care of us. “We’ll send that modem right away, Mr. Cavarra!”
Well they did indeed send that modem – and then sent another as well. Trouble is, you only need one modem. So I gave them a ring and said, “I’m sending one of these modems back to you. We’re good, right?” “Of course, Mr. Cavarra, no problem. Thanks for sending it back.”
If only the story ended there. But no. At the end of the billing cycle, just as I feared, two bills come in the mail. “I thought you said there was not going to be a problem.” “We’re sorry, Mr. Cavarra, we’ll be sure to get this straightened out.”
Month two. Two Bills. Another call to a new representative. “The last person I spoke to said they would take care of this. Can you?” “We’re sorry, Mr. Cavarra. Absolutely, we’ll be sure to get this straightened out.”
Month three. A different rep, same problem. Month four. Yet another rep, same problem.
Finally, month five. 45 minutes on hold waiting for a “supervisor”. “Certainly, Mr. Cavarra, we can close this account for you, but because it is before the year contract, we will have to charge you the early cancellation fee.” WHAT?!?!?!?!
So here is the dirty little secret big business doesn’t want to tell their customers. They are set up to find new customers faster than they lose old customers. That fiscal model works for them because they spend tons of money finding those new customers through all those TV commercials and big advertising budgets. But they don’t put much money into KEEPING those customers – because it just doesn’t help their business model.
So let me ask you this: How many customers can you afford to lose? 5? 4? 3? 2? None?
So that’s how you compete against the big guys and beat them every time! Remember, whatever business you are in, as a small business, your business is customer service. Period. Provide great customer service and deliver a WOW experience and you will get loyal customers that will shout their approval from the rooftops. And you can’t buy that kind of advertising. If you could, all the big guys would buy it – and then fail once again to deliver it.
So go answer that phone and say, “Sure, Mr. Customer. We’d love to help you.” And then deliver!