Saturday, March 31, 2007

 

Be like Sarah

Sarah owns The Bath Bar, a small bath & lotion store in downtown Kirkland, Washington. She sells a wide range of bath soaps, soaking salts, lotions and gifts.

There are plenty of places to buy bath soaps and lotions around town, including several competing retail locations in your local mall alone.

But Sarah's business is remarkably popular and successful, and her customers are fiercely loyal.

Why? Sarah has great products, and remarkable service. She's a prime example of how great products and even greater service can be your most effective marketing.

Walk into Sarah's store, and you're greeted with a smile and personal service to find exactly what you need. Come back a second time, and Sarah remembers everything you liked from the previous visit, and sometimes even has new products in stock specifically because she thought you would like them.

Need something in a hurry? Call ahead. Sarah will shop for you, process your credit card over the phone, wrap everything up, and bring your package out to your car for you, so you don't have to even worry about a parking spot.

Running late? Just give Sarah a call. She'll keep the store open for you.

Sarah's even been known to take orders directly to customers' homes on her own way home from work.

Sarah does all of this, and much more, not because she read about it in a book, or because she learned it in business school. To Sarah, this is simply what you do for your customers. This level of remarkable service comes natural.

But we all know that this level of service is quite uncommon. Most retail businesses fail to ask our names, let alone remember them, let alone remember what products we like.

Let alone offer to shop for us, bring our order to the car, or stay open late.

Sarah doesn't think about it this way, but she's one of the best marketers at work in retail today. She knows that building a business isn't about advertising, it isn't about flashy gimmicks, and it isn't about doing what the "big guys" do.

It's about serving and delighting your customers with something they can't get anywhere else.

By focusing on great products and even better service, Sarah has created a competitive advantage that few can match.

Is your business this remarkable? Do your customers tell stories as remarkable as those listed above? Are you creating a competitive advantage simply by how you support your products, and how important you make your customers feel?

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