A friend of mine runs a small retail business through a website. Headquartered out of her dining room with orders mailed at the local post office, she frequently ships parcels to customers nationally and internationally.
Recently, a request came in along with the sale: “This is an anniversary gift.” (That was the explanation for omitting the receipt in the box.)
This clever entrepreneur told me how she handles special requests. In addition to packing each item carefully as always, and she went an extra step and wrapped each item with tissue paper and tied it all up with pretty ribbon.
Was the customer charged extra? No.
Was this necessary? No.
Will the customer come back? Maybe.
And in today’s world, where keeping each customer happy is so important to maintaining (and hopefully growing) your small business, “Maybe” is a great reason for going the distance to accommodate special orders.
That’s a lesson for small businesses everywhere. Taking an additional step to cater to your customers’ specialized needs, whether it’s a minor effort or literally traveling “the extra mile,” can pay off handsomely in the long run. Your customer will be thrilled to be treated so special, and she (or he) is likely to tell others about the pleasant experience provided by your small business.
Even if the customer doesn’t return, perhaps the gift recipient will. Or, perhaps both the sender and receiver will provide testimonials for your promotional pieces, expressing how wonderful their experience was and why they would return.
So, as you go about your work day, give pause to consider how you might enhance the interaction you have with your customers. Ask if their purchase is for a special occasion. Find out how you can further assist in the sale, such as send the item directly to the recipient if located far away.
And don’t forget to ask your customers how their experience was at your establishment. If they are delighted, make the most of it and ask them to share their views on your website or other social media platforms to which you are listed. That extra step to find out how you can help your customer may be just the step needed to ensure they will return to your small business.