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The Secret to Small Business Saturday Success? Focus on the Customer Experience

November 22, 2017
By Special Guest
John Oechsle, President and CEO of Swiftpage -

The small business Super Bowl is nearly upon us. Small Business Saturday comes but once a year, and any proprietor of a small enterprise worth his or her salt has no doubt already been preparing for months. Inventory has been stocked, staff schedules are in place, special deals and incentives are ready to go and game faces are on!


As we barrel toward this all-important small business holiday/event/celebration/sales opportunity, what should small business owners be thinking about outside of logistics, sales, staffing and the like as the big day approaches? In my experience, the answer is customer experience. All too often, small businesses get caught up in trying to match the sales prices of their larger competitors to encourage patronage on Small Business Saturday and think of positive customer experience only in terms of friendly service and adequate available inventory.

However, there is a lot more to it than that. And small businesses are uniquely positioned to deliver real, loyalty-building customer experiences during this crucial selling period—oftentimes better than their national competition. For instance, small businesses generally have fewer customers and are able to offer a more personalized touch on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday selling season than their larger competitors. This is a significant competitive advantage as three out of five Americans say they’d try a new brand or company if it meant a better customer service experience

A properly executed Small Business Saturday customer experience game plan requires forethought and commitment—no easy feat considering everything else a small business must consider and juggle leading into this important day of sales. It’s no wonder that many small business owners find it difficult to make customer experience a real priority in the face of so many other forces to reconcile.

Nevertheless, just as a small business might utilize software to simplify the company’s inventory, sales or accounting processes, there are tools, tricks, and insights that help make delivering the best customer experience easier, too. With this in mind, here are my three keys for positioning your small business for customer experience success this Small Business Saturday:

1. Commit to Small Business Yoga—In other words, get flexible! 2017 customers are connected and savvier than ever, and their expectations about service are changing as rapidly as the technology that shapes and supports their buying behavior. Enhance the customer experience at your small business this Small Business Saturday by being flexible in ways that larger competitors in your space can’t. For instance, grab a couple mobile payment processing dongles and help speed up check out times by taking payment anywhere in the store via mobile. Also, focus on your local ties. You know the area better than the chains and franchises you compete with so if you can tailor your product or service offerings on Small Business Saturday to meet the needs of customers in the local area during this time of year, make that happen. Or, if you know that some of your patrons on Small Business Saturday may be looking for complimentary products/services to your offerings, partner up with another local business that can offer those goods and services. They can reciprocate as well and you can help increase sales at both local small businesses while also improving the customer experience. This is a great small business value add for small business customers who would never be referred to a Target by a Best Buy even if it would improve their customer experience ten fold.

2. Don’t Forget About Self-Service

Let’s be clear—you can’t emphasize enough the value of speedy, personalized service in enhancing the customer experience, but you should also be mindful of the fact that many consumers today sometimes prefer to help themselves. In fact, research reveals that 90 percent of consumers want businesses to provide a self-service customer support portal.

The key here is to present your customers with clear channels of information—however they choose to access it. In addition to a “Contact Us” page with your address, email, and phone number, be sure to offer an FAQ or troubleshooting page this Small Business Saturday so customers can find answers on their own terms. Everything they might want to research or learn should never be more than a click away from your business homepage.

3. Don’t Be Shy—Get in There And Connect With Your Customers!

Creating a memorable, authentic Small Business Saturday customer experience is about much more than being friendly (although that certainly counts!). Instead, it requires interactions that are both meaningful and valuable to customers. In order to do that, you’ll need to know all about your individual customers’ wants, needs, preferences, and priorities.

Make sure you have an accurate, up-to-date database of customer records and interactions. You can do this in an organized spreadsheet or, if you want to make your life easier, with the help of a small business-focused customer relationship management (CRM) tool like Act! from Swiftpage. This will ensure you aren’t wasting your repeat customers’ time by asking redundant or irrelevant questions, and you’ll always know exactly where they are in the sales cycle. Seventy-six percent of consumers say they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them—you can help demonstrate this appreciation by staying on top of each individual customer’s needs, and by providing service tailored to meeting those needs.

For small business owners, time and revenue are precious commodities come Small Business Saturday; and making good on the promise of exceptional service can sometimes be a challenge. However, it’s possible to set yourself up for success by embracing the opportunity. The local community wants to come out and support their small businesses, they just need you to make it worth their while. Delivering an exceptional customer experience can go a long way toward establishing the value of your products and services and, if properly executed, will surely translate into Small Business Saturday sales success. Game faces on, people. It’s time for the Small Business Super Bowl!

About the Author: H. John Oechsle joined Swiftpage in July 2012 and currently serves as president and chief executive officer. John came to Swiftpage (www.act.com) with a 30 year track record of building highly profitable and sustainable revenue growth for emerging companies and established global leaders. John is an advocate for technology and education in Colorado and has been an active contributor to the Colorado Technology Association (CTA). He has been recognized several times for his involvement in the tech industry. In 2006 and in 2009, John was awarded the Technology Executive of the Year, and the Titan of Technology awards by the CTA. John was also awarded the Bob Newman Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community by the CTA in 2011.




Edited by Mandi Nowitz

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