Ya Talkin’ to Me?  5 Ways to Build Customer Relationships

Ya Talkin’ to Me? 5 Ways to Build Customer Relationships

Let me ask you something.  If you’re like me, every day you get a number of e-mail offers and text messages asking you to visit a local business and make a purchase.  Some are even addressed to me personally, “Kathy, we have this special offer just for you.”

Why are these offers just for me or you?  Are they offering me $12 off my oil change because the last time I had my oil changed I used a coupon good for $13 off and they want to see if they can get me to come in with just a $12 discount?  Or are they offering you a special, new type of sandwich because it’s similar to other sandwiches that you’ve purchased before?  Yes, I’m sure those are two of the ways the offers are “personalized” and are supposed to “speak to us”.  But, let me tell you five ways that those local businesses really make those offers work and build stronger relationships with their customers along the way.

  1. The employees of those local businesses make a special effort to get to know me. When I pull in to get my oil changed, they welcome me by name and ask how my car has been running.  They give me guidance on when I truly need to have the filter in the glove compartment changed.  They practice one of the basic tenets of Local Store Marketing (LSM)…. provide great customer service and create personal connections with their customers.
  2. They support the people that live in their community. They held a fundraiser for my nephew’s boy scout troop.  Yep, major loyalty points for helping to send his troop on their summer retreat.  And, I’m sure their business benefited with additional sales from the fundraising event…and they deserve it.  I didn’t see the other quick service restaurants in the area offer to host a fundraiser.holiday decorations
  3. They make me smile and have a little bit of fun during an otherwise hectic day. Last year the local QSR decorated their drive-thru with holiday decorations.  I’m not talking a couple of snowflakes…. I’m talking all out, let’s take the kids through the drive-thru so they can see the holiday lights and animated snowman…. holiday decorations!  This is another of the tenets of Local Store Marketing…create a fun experience for your customers that makes them want to come back again and again.
  4. They go the extra mile with kindness and customer care. The local boutique provides doggie treats for customers out shopping with their pets and sets a water dish at their front door on hot summer days.  My friend’s dog, Captain, knows exactly where this shop is, as he passes by on his daily walk.  Now, Captain hasn’t ever purchased a thing at this shop…but, their kindness and thoughtfulness has made me do a lot more than window shop at this local business.
  5. They surprise and delight their customers with unexpected treats. Some would call this “sampling”, which is definitely something that’s high on the list of Local Store Marketing tactics.  I don’t know about you, but when you’re at a local QSR, with three small boys all under the age of 7, and a crew member comes out with samples of their latest dessert…all I can say is “thank you!”

I believe that practicing some basic Local Store Marketing principles and connecting with your customers makes a bigger impact on your sales than any type of digital marketing.  I also believe that great LSM makes a huge impact on your employees.  LSM activities make it fun for them to come to work and proud of their job.   LSM is a perfect complement to today’s digital marketing world.  It takes “big data” marketing from the national level and brings it to the “personal” level at the local point-of-sale, which is where it matters most.

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