The recipe for making a customer for life: personalisation, quality and care

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Behind the Review host and Yelp’s Small Business Expert, Emily Washcovick, shares a look at this week’s episode of the podcast.

Boite de Fleurs

For some customers, the decision to buy from a small business instead of a large retailer comes down to something very simple – the experience they have in the store. Because of their size, small businesses have the advantage of being able to build deeper relationships with their customers through exceptional service or a customized product.

Tina Y., owner of Phoenix flower shop Boite de Fleurs, says her dedication to adding the personal touch to not only the product but also the shopping experience is what drives her luxury flower business.

“We put everything together for the customer who orders it. If they call in and want something specific, even if it takes us a day or two to make sure we get the exact flowers from our suppliers, we make sure we do it because we want to deliver a great experience at the end of the day,” she said.

It was Tina’s genuine care that impressed Yelp reviewer Reginald M., who went to Boite de Fleurs with his one-year-old son to pick out the perfect Mother’s Day gift for his wife. He says the memory of having the entire store to himself while Reggie Jr. the flowers he chose are something he will cherish forever – and what cemented his status as a loyal customer.

“When my son went in there, they looked after him. He picked out every flower that’s in that arrangement. It was memorable. It’s things like that that [mean] I will never buy flowers from anyone else.”

Many small business owners can relate to the origin story of Boite de Fleurs, which Tina started in her garage five years ago. What initially began as a side hustle blossomed into a full-fledged business when she opened her brick-and-mortar store in February 2020, just before the pandemic presented entrepreneurs with unprecedented challenges.

“Going through the pandemic and not really knowing what to expect or even how long it was going to take and pushing through to actually have a sustainable business for the last three years has been tough,” she said. “But it’s been great at the same time because it’s something I feel like not many people can say they’ve done or gone through. It wasn’t what we expected when we opened up.”

Despite the obstacles she has had to overcome in recent years, Tina’s commitment to customer service has remained constant. She puts meticulous care into everything, from the quality of the product to the delivery process, so that each order is exactly what the customer envisioned.

“For me, that’s what it’s all about: making sure I can get what the customer wants,” she said. “I just feel like that’s what people want nowadays. Everybody wants something specific, whether they’ve seen it online or somewhere else, or someone else got something.”

When a potential customer approaches your small business, a good product may not be all they’re looking for. Providing that memorable experience through customer service that goes above and beyond or a special personal touch is a solid way to leave a strong impression on customers and keep them coming back.

In this week’s episode, Tina discussed some other great tips that are making her business thrive:

  • Responding to all reviews, whether positive or critical, is a way to let your customers know they are appreciated. Customers will notice when you take the time and effort to respond to feedback. In Reggie’s case, he felt special and heard when Tina responded to his review.
  • Your store’s digital presence can often be a potential customer’s first impression of your business. Especially in this day and age, a majority of your customers will find your business through social media or an online review platform like Yelp. Uploading eye-catching photos and accurate information on social media platforms and review sites can inspire someone’s decision to choose your small business over your competition.
  • Make sure the quality of the product justifies a higher price point. Many customers will not mind paying extra for an experience and product that reflects the care and attention that goes into each purchase, especially when it comes to special occasions.

Listen to the episode below to hear from Tina and Reginald, and subscribe Behind the review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.

Available on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and Soundcloud

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