August 2021 Economic Development Update:
One of the great things about doing business in small communities is that business owners and customers are often on a first-name basis – they are friends, family and neighbours. But that friendly small-town way of doing business shouldn’t mean that basic customer service is ignored.
Great customer service will help ensure local businesses thrive and the products and services we all need will be available in our region for years to come.
What Businesses Can Do
Be Responsive – When customers or potential customers contact you, get back to them quickly. Even if you’re busy. Customers deserve the piece of mind of knowing you respect their time and value their business.
Be Prompt – Show up when you say you’ll be there. If something comes up that you’re going to be late, call your customer to let them know. Most people understand when issues arise and are more than happy to wait or reschedule. Leaving them hanging is not respectful of their time.
Manage Expectations – Let your customers know if you decide to discontinue a product line or service, especially if it’s an essential or once-a-year service. Ideally, provide a recommendation of another business that can provide the product or service. If that’s not possible, give as much lead time as possible so your customer has time to find another supplier.
Maintain Confidentiality – If you are invited into someone’s home or property to deliver a product or service, respect your customers’ privacy. There’s no need to share what you see or hear with anyone else.
What Customers Can Do
Resolve Issues Privately – If you have a less-than-ideal experience, contact the business directly. Business owners appreciate hearing from you to resolve any issues, rather than to hear about it on social media or through the rumour mill. On the flip side, if you have a great experience, let them know, either via phone call/email or on their social media channels.
Respect COVID Restrictions – If you are visiting a business, respect the rules set by the government health authority. Business owners don’t make the rules but they’re in the difficult position of having to enforce them for their own safety and the safety of their customers. In addition, businesses have had to make many accommodations during this pandemic including expenses for personal protective equipment, time required for cleaning protocols between customers, and reduced numbers of customers – all negatively impacting their bottom line. Please be kind. Always.