Today, I experienced something...odd. I had an epiphany. I and my family have been shopping at this particular hardware store for quite some time. Over the past 10 years we have spent 100s of thousands of dollars on materials for several different projects we did.
Today, I ran into one of the owners, someone I have not spoken to much more than two times in the past 10 years while visiting her store, however, I knew exactly who she was. I said hi to her and she look at me as an anonymous, she did not even responded back. I smiled and carried on my day. I realized the reason for this: she was always locked away in her office, and the couple times I did see her, she was never courteous, dismissive and not in-the-moment.
There is also another hardware store that we have done much less business with. however, anytime we went to this particular hardware store, the owner and his entire family is always around the store, always smiling, always helpful and always remembered who I was. An aside: I will be taking as much of my business to this business, and will recommend them to my friends and associates.
The lesson here is that in Belize, which is such a small country, always interact with your customers. Don't hide in some office with two way mirrors. Get out and walk around in your business, meet and greet people. Try to remember who they are. Running into someone outside your business and remembering their names, and saying hi (first, if possible) do more to build your business reputation than all the advertising money you can spend. If you don't appreciate your customers, when someone starts selling cheaper, they will simply go there, for they will have no reason to be loyal to you or your business.