In our previous post, we mentioned “customer” as an improvement keyword mentioned by both customers and business owners. This time we are talking about 4 tips customers could use to become better patrons.
tip 1: ask questions
Asking questions is a way to be proactive and show that you really care about the product or service. It shows that you’re engaged in learning more about it, and that you appreciate the time and effort the businessperson has made to make their business successful.
Furthermore, asking questions can help you better understand how to use a product or service so both parties are happy with the transaction: how long will it take to repair my car? How exactly do your services work? What kinds of things should I consider when choosing this kind of drink?
The quality of your experience depends on asking good questions—ones that are genuine, not just rhetorical. And there’s a right way to ask them: keep them short and sweet; don’t inundate the store owner with an endless list of queries, especially if they’re busy (or busier than usual). If they give short answers, ask follow-up questions—this demonstrates to them that you are truly interested in knowing more about their product or service. If it seems like they’re being elusive or uncooperative, don’t hesitate to ask for someone else who may have time for you.
tip 2: understand that they are a small business
Supporting a local, crafter or maker business is a great thing to do for your community and yourself, but it often comes with certain considerations—one of those being the time it takes for an owner to make each item. Local businesses have their own quirks, and that’s what makes them so appealing. They take on the personality of their owners, whether it’s with their branding or the product itself (or both). A true local business owner has crafted his or her goods and services with passion, love and respect to detail. The best way you can support this is by understanding that they are a small business—you can’t expect them to operate like Amazon!
tip 3: take the time to write a review
You may think that you’re not a writer and don’t want to put yourself out there, but now is the time to be brave. Most reviews are often overly positive or negative, and not very specific. If you give concrete, specific feedback about your experience with a business (good or bad) it will be much more helpful to them and other potential customers.
Don’t just tell the business “great service” or “excellent job.” What specifically did they do great? For example: “The bartender Jerome was so friendly and gave us great suggestions for the wine list! I’ll be back because of him!!”
tip 4: tell your friends!
Word of mouth is a great way to build a business, and customer recommendations are crucial. The next time a friend asks for your advice on where to find something in the city, why not tell them about your favorite local business?
More and more people are starting to recognize the value of patronizing local urban businesses, and they will thank you for your recommendations.
“We just want you to know what good customers look like and to thank you for being one!”–Anonymous Knoxville Small Business Owner
Other Notes from a conversation with a Knoxville Small Business Owner
- As a business owner, there’s nothing more important than having loyal customers who support your business and the community.
- We’ve all been customers in one place or another, but what are some ways that we can be better customers towards local businesses?
- When working with a local urban business, you should also be honest with them and provide constructive criticism when something went wrong, if they give you the chance to do so. (They want to know when they’re doing something wrong so they can correct it.)
- Most of us buy things online because of convenience, which is why we recommend supporting local urban businesses whenever possible!