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Good service has advantages

THE little things can often prove to be a winning, competitive advantage for a small business.

Small businesses are constrained by their size in their ability to advertise and to compete on price against bigger competitors.

But many customers are prepared to pay a little extra for some personalised service and will often come back for more of the same.

Even football coaches go on about the one percenters that players can do to help the team win.

Former West Coast Eagles coach Mick Malthouse even produced a book of one percenters for his players – a list of more than 102 items.

For a bakery it could be as simple as remembering how a customer likes their loaf of bread sliced.

A panel beater or mechanic could detail their customer’s car.

A delicatessen owner could have tasting plates of cheeses for customers.

Small Business Development Corporation managing director George Etrelezis believes the extra touch a small business can bring to a sale or a service can make the difference.

“The idea is to personalise the touch and build on the relationship with the custo-mers,” Mr Etrelezis said.

“Because small businesses have smaller staffs, the custo-mers get to know them and the staff get to know the customers.

“I think people will pay a bit more for extra service. Whenever you see good service these days you notice it and appreciate it.

“Capitalise on your expertise and show you are different to your larger customer.”

Management consultant and customer service specialist Jillian Mercer believes good service is the element that makes customers pay more.

“The bottom line is human beings like to be treated well,” Ms Mercer said.

“If you keep your promise to your customers they will keep coming back.

“It’s just keeping the lines of communication open.”

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