Customer Service May Give Small Business an Edge This Holiday Season

Black Friday will be upon us in a few days, and though it's followed the very next day by Small Business Saturday, the former event is the focus of many consumers at this time. That may leave many independent companies trying to think of ways they can stand out from the crowd for the remainder of the holiday shopping season.

In general, these smaller enterprises are not going to be able to compete with their larger counterparts in terms of prices or advertising reach, but customer service is an area in which the latter will probably not be able to keep up, according to a report from the Valley News Dispatch. Many consumers know all too well the frustration that can come with trying to get even a little bit of simple assistance from the harried workers at a large-box electronics store, and that's an issue that most won't face at the average small business in their areas.

"You get more of a selection, I think, and you get better service," Carolyn Gavasto, who owns a small business in Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania, told the newspaper. "You go to these larger stores where they hire temporary people for the holidays. They're not going to be bothered to give you the same service as the owner [of a smaller shop] who's right there waiting on you. You get more of a personal touch."

What else is needed?
This, of course, does not mean that small businesses should not also concentrate on their discounts during the holiday shopping season, because while superior customer service may increase satisfaction among shoppers, they still need to be enticed to walk through the doors in the first place. Having daily deals as well as ongoing sales – all of which should be advertised well in advance – may be a great way to keep people coming back for the entire month, and therefore help to engender a greater sense of customer loyalty.

While introducing deals and discounts is a great way to attract customers at this time of year, it can also make operating margins grow a little thinner, and as such, it might be wise for owners to consider the ways in which they can help to shore up their finances. That could include cutting costs for small business insurance, including policies such as general liability insurance, which in turn could free up thousands of dollars annually to help increase a company's ongoing financial health.