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All businesses have tricks of the trade—tips and tactics that help them attract customers, increase revenue, and grow their companies. However, these solutions tend to be known and practiced within specific industries. Retail businesses, for instance, have their secrets to success, and service businesses have theirs.

But what if we mix it up? Are there retail tactics and techniques service businesses can “borrow” to improve their businesses and vice versa?

Retail tactics

First, let’s examine some of the proven techniques retailers use. This blog post on Vend offers 17 tips to increase retail sales. Some are equally relevant to service businesses. Let’s take a closer look at a few.

1. Hire and develop employees who can offer exceptional customer service

Almost every retail expert advises retailers to hire wisely, making sure all employees are “passionate and knowledgeable” about the product mix and trained to provide great customer service.

While service businesses are likely hiring skilled staff knowledgeable about their industry, they often overlook the customer service angle. Whether you’re an accountant or financial advisor, run a graphics design firm or janitorial service, even if your employees are good at what they do, if they’re not equally strong working with people, your business could be in trouble.

Like retail employees, your staff needs to be trained to recognize what your clients need and want and how best to deliver it to them.

2. Promote corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Being a good corporate citizen should be part of every business’s core strategy. But it’s often easier for retail businesses to promote their CSR than service companies. Try these CSR activities to let people know your service business is dedicated to helping the community.

Service businesses with storefronts that attract customers throughout the day, such as hair and nail salons, spas, and gyms, can donate a portion of a day’s sales or profits to a charity or other worthy cause. Local schools often hold fundraisers at retail or food establishments. Perhaps your service business could host one in your facility.

If you own a car repair company or you’re a consultant, accountant, financial advisor, real estate agent, lawyer, graphic or web designer, tutor, dentist, etc. check out local community events. Many have booths where you can, while not dispensing advice, give out free, relevant checklists, such as general tax tips or how to stage your home for sale, how to go green, or five books every middle school child should read. You get the idea. Make sure your logo and contact info is on the documents and try to collect names and addresses (asking for permission to email them).

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If it’s appropriate, pick a cause that makes sense to your business mission and promote it. Contractors, home remodelers, interior designers, for example, could work with an organization like Habitat for Humanity.

Originally published at All Business

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