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The Recipe For Making a Customer For Life: Personalization, Quality, and Care

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Behind the Review host and Yelp’s Small Business Expert, Emily Washcovick, shares a look at this week’s episode of the podcast.

Boite de Fleurs

To some customers, the decision to purchase from a small business rather than a big retailer comes down to something very simple—the experience they have in the store. Due to their size, small businesses have the advantage of being able to build deeper relationships with their customers through exceptional service or a customized product.

Tina Y., owner of Phoenix floral shop Boite de Fleurs, says her dedication to adding that personalized touch to not only the product but also the shopping experience is what drives her luxury flower business.

“We make everything curated for the customer who’s ordering it. If they call in and want something specific, even if it takes us a day or two to make sure we get the exact flowers from our vendors, we make sure we do that because we want to deliver a great experience at the end of the day,” she said.

It was Tina’s genuine care that impressed Yelp reviewer, Reginald M., who went to Boite de Fleurs with his one-year-old son to pick out the perfect Mother’s Day gift for his wife. He says the memory of having the whole store to himself while Reggie Jr. chose the flowers is one he’ll cherish forever—and what cemented his status as a loyal customer.

“When my son walked in there, they catered to him. He picked out each flower that’s in that arrangement. It was memorable. It’s the kinda things that [mean] I’ll never buy flowers from anyone else.”

Many small business owners can relate to the origin story of Boite de Fleurs, which Tina started in her garage five years ago. What initially began as a side hustle blossomed into a full business when she opened up her brick-and-mortar store in February 2020, right before the pandemic presented entrepreneurs with unprecedented challenges.

“Going through the pandemic and not really knowing what to expect or even how long it was going to be and pushing through to actually having a sustainable business for the last three years has been tough,” she said. “But it’s been great at the same time because it’s something I feel like not a lot of people can say that they’ve done or they’ve gone through. That’s not what we were expecting when we first opened up.”

Despite the obstacles she’s had to overcome in the past few years, Tina’s commitment to customer service has remained constant. She puts meticulous care into everything, from the quality of the product to the delivery process, so that each order is exactly what the customer has envisioned.

“To me, that’s what it’s all about: making sure I can get whatever it is that the customer wants,” she said. “I just feel like that’s what people want nowadays. Everybody wants something specific, whether they’ve seen it online or somewhere else, or someone else has gotten something.”

When a potential customer approaches your small business, a good product might not be all they’re looking for. Providing that memorable experience through customer service that goes above and beyond or a special personalized touch is a solid way to leave a strong impression on clients and keep them coming back.

In this week’s episode, Tina discussed some other great tips that keep her business flourishing:

  • Responding to all reviews, whether they’re positive or critical, is one way to let your customers know they are valued. Customers will notice when you take the time and effort to respond to feedback. In Reggie’s case, he felt special and heard when Tina responded to his review.
  • Your store’s digital presence can often be a potential customer’s first impression of your business. Especially in this day and age, a majority of your customers will find your business through social media or an online review platform like Yelp. Uploading eye-catching photos and accurate information on your social media platforms and review sites can inspire someone’s decision to choose your small business over your competitors.
  • Make sure the quality of your product justifies a higher price point. Many customers won’t mind paying extra for an experience and product that reflects the care and attention that goes into each purchase, especially when it comes to special occasions.

Listen to the episode below to hear from Tina and Reginald, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.

Available on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and Soundcloud

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