I recieved an email last week from one of the UK's top climbers, Dave Macleod. It's the second time he* has emailed me, and the second time I've bought a DVD from him direct instead of going to Amazon or Play.
Both times I've been struck by how well written the emails are, combining a chatty tone with a refreshingly direct call to action.
Dave MacLeod here. You bought a copy of E11 and Committed from my webshop last year – thanks! Claire and I have been busy this year making our first film which is due out his month. I hope you don’t mind me emailing you to let you know.
If you are keen to get hold of a copy of the DVD, obviously I’m keen for you to get it from my webshop again rather than elsewhere, so I thought I’d drop you a line.
Often this kind of simple, direct, communication is what customers crave from their suppliers. It's one of the things that small businesses and individuals are consistently better at than the big companies. I suspect it's a lot of the reason the Services sector consistently tops the UKCSI.
Is it possible for big companies to achieve this kind of simplicity? I believe it is. One essential is to get good staff and give them the freedom to create relationships with customers.
Another fruitful avenue is to use the tools available on the internet. Blogging, for example, is a good way to maintain an informal dialogue with customers. As with most communication issues, Innocent provide a good model.
* If you think I'm being naive, and that the email came from one of his many underlings, you have a very rosy picture of how much money it's possible to make as a professional climber!