On paper, it may seem like the larger chains have more resources than local businesses, and therefore would inevitably draw a bigger crowd of customers. Especially in smaller communities where options are scarce, the big brand name could appeal to a wider range of shoppers because of its higher levels of marketing and exposure.
However, as readers of this blog know, that's not necessarily the case. Businesses in any industry can embody the important personable character of good, in-store staff to their answering services (and vice versa) to make an impression that sets them apart.
As an example of this, one can look at WinCo, a grocery chain that Time Magazine reports is attracting customers away from better-known, larger national chains. Though it has a smaller selection, this store reportedly endeavors to give its in-store workers healthcare coverage, even some who aren't working full time.
WinCo has locations in seven states from Washington to Nevada, though it's based out of Idaho, and according to specialist Bert Flickinger, the company poses a real threat to bigger companies that can't offer the same employee and customer satisfaction.
"WinCo arguably may be the best retailer in the Western U.S.," Flickinger said, adding provocatively that "they're Walmart's worst nightmare."
Online customer services can enable businesses to communicate better with their populace, and even if resources don't appear as available as they are to the larger competition that surrounds them, these local providers can fill a void that leaves a noticeable mark on their industry. Being responsive over a phone or internet connection should be as important as when it's in-person.