Tuesday 22 July 2014


It wasn't that long ago when communicating with our customers was a fairly straightforward affair.  If it wasn't talking to them face to face then it would probably have been on the telephone and I’m talking landline here, not mobile.  My, how things have changed!

Let’s face it customers are the most important thing to our businesses and staying in touch and communicating with them is at the very heart of our success. So these days it should be easy, right?  But, for smaller retailers is it easier to stay in touch with their customers or has it just got a whole lot more complicated? Often, just like selling products, offering too much choice results in confusion and makes it difficult to make a decision resulting in the worst option of all,  not to bother!

For many small businesses just coping with the day to day stuff is time consuming enough without learning another new set of skills. Do we really need to be permanently connected, available 24/7, sharing our time online in full public view for anyone out there who’s remotely interested. Today, when you consider the options for communicating with our customers, other than face to face contact the choice is mind blowing.  Each platform requires a different style or tone and targets different customer groups so how do you make the right choice for your business and, more importantly, stay on top of it!

How do you choose?  Keep it simple, you can’t do it all, but you should do some! The first priority is to make sure your customers know how to find out who you are, what you do and, if they want to chat, they will.  If you've got a bricks and mortar shop rather than just an online offer promote your communication options in store depending on topic, it could be product focused (see photo above), customer service information,  your latest news or all of the above and more.  It’s only been a few years since we first encountered the appearance of tablet computers in shops displaying their online offer but who’s to say you can’t use these as an additional point of communication.

Personally I think there is a  relatively simple way to choose your communication routes. Firstly, know your customers, who are they, how do they connect with you, their friends, their family and others.  Understand your retail offer, is it brand/product focused, do you offer great customer service (everyone says they do, but they don’t), is it about special offers or expertise, is it about storytelling, lifestyle etc. If you had to tell someone about it how would you do it, would you rely more on the visual (photographs/video) or do you need words to get your message across or, probably both.  Answer these questions and you’ll soon be able to choose the top three that are not only best for you but, more importantly best for your customers. Stay in touch.  

Contact   Peter by email
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