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Shep Hyken Video Q&A: Local Shops Beat National Retailers When Creating Connections with Customers


The “service experience” is among the most important factors impacting the customer’s decision to buy from you. While many factors play into what shapes this experience, your employees’ ability to form personal, emotional connections with customers is chief among them.

In a recent study on the customer experience of ten retail stores in Austin, Texas, I discovered that while big brands do a better job of impacting revenue on a transaction-by-transaction basis through upselling and deals, their local counterparts create more lasting connections with customers.

“Local stores are really focused on the customer and the relationship,” customer service expert Shep Hyken told me in the video interview below. “This engagement process is extremely important if you want to increase your revenue, increase your loyalty and compete against the national brands.”

We discussed the potential reasons why the local shops did better in this category, as well as a few winning interactions from the project (which is described in more detail here).

Austin Macworks, for example, created an emotional connection with customers literally every time we visited their store. In one particularly notable interaction, our site visitor arrived just after the store closed. Even though the employee’s family members were waiting for him, he immediately greeted our secret shopper and asked how he could help. The employee spent more than 15 minutes going over three different iPads and described the features in detail.

“One of the best ways [small businesses] compete is through great customer service, but most importantly the moment that customer walks through the door, they engage them. They look them straight in the eye and ask them a really important question that is basically, ‘What is that I can help you find today?’” Hyken said.

Image created by Heather Cowper.

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Ashley Verrill

About the Author

Ashley Verrill has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has been featured or cited in Inc., Forbes, Business Insider, TechCrunch, GigaOM,, Yahoo News, the Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal, among others.

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