Extra profit will come from free little things too…

Don’t FORGET the small stuff

As a small business owner myself I admire a good business and am loyal to those who provide it. I go back time and again to specific shops in my local area – they know my name, my tastes, my budget and provide me with my preferences, offering suggestions and coaching me into trying different things. I send my friends, and take out-of-town visitors to these shops, because I trust them and I want the shops to flourish.
Great Business is all about bringing customers back. And about sending them away happy – happy enough to pass positive feedback along to others, who then try the product or service for themselves, and in their turn become repeat customers.
Customers don’t buy products or services, they buy good feelings and solutions to problems. Often customer needs are emotional rather than logical. At its worst the business overlooks the emotional side of customer satisfaction.
NOTE: I am specifically using the words “great business” in this post instead of “great customer service” because at one place I recently visited the customer service was legendary, every one of the “top 10 customer commandments” were met – but several staff were consistently so rude to those more junior to them the environment was poisonous, and I didn’t go back.

It is a very simple rule:


Last week I was lucky enough to be traveling in Cairns and Townsville – part work part pleasure – and the trip reminded me of how important these small things are. In a new environment – where I was forced to abandon my “regular haunts” and try new ones – it was interesting/embarrassing to see how many business owners and shopkeepers had forsaken the small things; many didn’t bother to make any connection, didn’t bother to provide a trace of service, didn’t bother to even keep the place tidy; all the while complaining to me about how sales are down and profits are dropping.
I was shocked! Aghast by their inability to see the connections between these little things and happy crowds of customers. Dismayed at their failure to recognise the correlations between happy crowds of customers and the exit-value of their business.
I know many people have read (or at least heard of) the book series Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carson however during this Qld trip it was apparent too many business owners have taken the advice waaayyy too much to heart.

Little things are often FREE – so use them to your advantage.

This is really simple stuff, not just relevant to retail; but it makes the profit difference. Especially in this day-and-age of online, faceless selling, great person-to-person service is a differentiation that will easily drive more sales.
Having been subject to many bad experiences in the last week – my list is simple and all the tips here are free to implement: they apply to all business owners and all your staff from the sales people to the box-packers and even debt collection! In one lovely example I was actually assisted by the owner’s daughter who didn’t even work there, but had dropped in to run an errand – her mum was busy with another patron so she gladly helped us out.

5 ways to Profit from Little Things

  1. Be proud of what you are doing – or find something else to do
  2. Smile when you greet someone – a grunt is not an acceptable welcome
  3. Be genuinely helpful – not just focused on “making the sale”
  4. Answer your phone – letting it ring-out is really bad! Make sure you excuse yourself if you are with a customer at the time, AND have a message-bank that explains relevant business information and when you expect to call back.
  5. Remember small things DO matter – dust the shelves and polish the windows, get rid of broken stock (and get that bird poo off your sign!)

By generating a great business your customer experience will improve and you will generate great buzz – leveraging that buzz makes you more profit.
These little things take effort, they require some energy and a good mind-set but they are free!
The news from my trip is not all bad – some businesses are very carefully working very hard on all the tiny things, and they are the ones I want to thank today for making my trip great – you already know who you are as I have written thank-you notes on your websites, but should anyone be interested in some Cairns and Townsville recommendations (both good and bad) then let me know in the comments below.

What can you improve today to profit from small things?