May 6, 2010

supporting local to thrive

These days, more of us are becoming aware of the importance of supporting local business.  Maybe you have been paying attention to this where you can.  You choose the hardware store a few blocks from your house over the big box store.  You buy your groceries from the local market, or the store that buys local first.  You get your coffee from the locally owned coffee shop.  You choose the local service provider when it makes sense.
So what else can you do?  What else does support include?
Supporting is also about giving feedback.  Both positive, which is often easy to deliver, and negative, which is not.
Feedback helps businesses (and people) to thrive.  Yet many of us find it difficult to give feedback.  Particularly negative feedback.  It is more comfortable to walk away and not say anything.  Studies show 96 percent of unhappy customers don't complain.  They just don't go back.  That's the default.
The problem is that if no one gives feedback, the business owner might not know.  The coffee shop owner might not be aware that the new barista makes weak americanos.  Or that the cashier doesn't smile, nor appear to care.  Meanwhile, a few dozen customers choose not to return.
No local business can afford to have anything going on for any length of time that turns off customers.  Every person matters.  Loyalty matters.  Over time, one lost customer can mean the loss of thousands in revenue.  A few of those can make or break a small company.
So if you want your local businesses to thrive, help them out.  Give them the feedback about that disengaged cashier or weak americano.  Give them the chance to make things right.  And thrive.


  1. Is there some trick to delivering "negative" feedback without sounding like you're complaining? I find that when I don't like something my first inclination is to complain, and I hate complaining, so I just shut up... I'm one of the 96% I suppose.

  2. Thanks for the question. I think the key lies in being connected to your intention when you provide the negative feedback. If you are sincerely intending it to help them succeed, they will be able to tell. As well, including some suggested solutions makes a big difference.