Lisa, Kaylie, and I went out for a family grocery run this evening. We go to the Kroger store nearest us. We started shopping there last year when the store just up the street from us closed. As we were leaving tonight, we both commented on how we don’t really enjoy grocery shopping like we used to. For some reason, the new store hasn’t grown on us. In talking about it, we finally realized what it was.
We don’t have a relationship with anyone there.
The old store didn’t have more products than the new one. It was definitely older and rougher around the edges. The parking lot was falling apart and the strip mall it was in was otherwise deserted. Despite all that, we looked forward to seeing the cashiers and managers whom we had come to know. Most of them knew our names. If I came in alone they would often ask about Lisa and Kaylie.
The new place? Either we aren’t consistent enough with our scheduled trips or the turnover there is pretty significant, because I don’t think I’ve run into the same person there more than twice. As a result, we’ve established no ties with this place. Unfortunately for them, that means if another store opened closer, we’d head to it in a minute.
This sort of underlines the old networking saying that people tend to do business with people they know, like, and trust. It should also give us one more reason to get out there to start and strengthen our relationships. For those of us in business, it’s the relationship that brings them to our door and keeps them coming back.
Photo credit: Julia Freeman-Woolpert
Many years ago now, Steve and spent the second week of our Costa Rican vacation as a very highly recommended lodge on the east coast instead of staying an additional week at our beloved Aguila de Osa on the Pacific Coast. While the fishing was out of this world for Steve, we both left after the week realizing that the host/owner and his wife didn't know our names. And we were one of twelve total guests and we all shared meals at the same time. Needless to say, we never went back.
@Debby: What a great example! I think relationships are important in any business, but as you pointed out, they are particularly valuable in businesses which cater to the recreational needs of a global or national (or even regional) clientèle. There are just too many other options. If they don't capture your hearts, why would you return?