Signs of Spring
One thing the world cannot do, is stop the changing of seasons. With the gentleness and beauty of spring upon us, there isn't any way that our senses can keep from embracing it. Just open a window, walk along a path, sit outside in your yard, we are enveloped by all that is simply lovely. Spring has made its way despite the long, cold and bitter winter.
My small business has also made its way through this bleakness. Despite our losses, we now begin to see the signs of hope, like seeds being planted, we wait. Customers (some old, some new) begin to emerge and explain to us that they thought we had closed, some permanently. Its more than joy to explain we are still here, online, taking baby steps to rebuild. That conversation often leads to searching for something the customer may need. The sale is not always made but, I realize that it has become more about connecting with the customer, than making "the sale." What it has become about is life and how it has changed as we know it. Whether it has been, how lonely a customer has felt, how frightened they are or the question of when things will change. My business has become more than what it was because of these conversations.
It is a different moment now, one that has become more meaningful with the customer. The reason for this is we long for that connection again even if it is just briefly. As much as we spend hours on social networking feeling as though we "have connected", we look forward to something different, more concrete. Customers desire the personal touch more now than ever, but they just don't know how to get it. This experience can still happen in retail. With every order, I reach out and begin that conversation. With each delivery, often a door opens with a smile and a thank you as well as a question like, "how have you been"? This is not because this is the "new normal" but it represents what relationships with a customer should be, authentic, personal and life giving for both customer and the small business.