We have just set the dates for sixteen city tour to meet with our customers. At these sessions we’ll provide free training, answer support questions, preview forthcoming updates and listen to suggestions.
The sessions are highly interactive and always well attended.
By the end of this series and the usual supplemental series for more regional areas we will have met with more than 50% of our customer base.
We do this twice a year.
We usually have three or four of our people in attendance from me (owner of the business), our software development manager (the God who decides update content) and two of our support experts.
It’s a grueling schedule yet crucial to our success over the last twenty-four years. We learn plenty from our customers – even those who have been with us for many years. We also get to answer questions which might be too complex for a telephone conversation. But most important is the human contact. We get a sense of where’re we at with these folks and that feedback can help us tweak how we move forward.
Microsoft does not have such regular face to face and personal contact with its small business customers. Of course not! They have hundreds of millions of customers. How foolish of me to even suggest it.
Well given that Microsoft is now in my patch and offering small business point of sale solutions and doing so with slick and expensive adver5tising which I cannot match, it is appropriate to compare.
If Microsoft is serious about serving small business it needs to do so on terms and in a way which is sensitive to small business needs. Not just software needs but also contact needs and the opportunity for face to face human contact.
If Microsoft wants to compete with companies like mine it should be matching the kind of services we are offering. By doing this Microsoft would demonstrate its commitment to the small business marketplace beyond getting the sale. Each sale we make is a long term relationship and it needs to be treated with respect and care.
I get great personal joy from meeting with our customers – every time I learn and every time our product/service offering improves as a result.
The Micrsoft conveyor belt approach to business will win customers with the warm fuzzy and expensive advertising. It will not, unless they change, deliver the depth of relationship and business benefits companies like mine offer.
Small businesses should stick together and support each other and cut companies the size of Microsoft out of our purchase decisions as much as possible.