“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Teddy Roosevelt
During the past several weeks we have been talking about customer service as it relates to book marketing and sales. When Sam Walton started Walmart, customer service was at the top of his requirements. I live in Missouri not far from where many of his earlier stores are located. He often hired older people to stand in front of the store as greeters. He also made sure employees ready to assist you no matter who they thought you were.
Sam Walton had a policy of going into one of his stores dressed in old overalls. He was an old man, and dressed in the overalls, he looked like one of the locals (especially in this part of Missouri). He would walk in, unannounced and walk around the store. If any of the employees treated him as though he were anything but the owner of the company, the management heard about it. He wanted EVERY customer treated as though they were the owner of the business.
Since Sam Walton’s death, as the company has grown into the multi-billion dollar enterprise that it has become, customer service is not as important to the company as it once was and sales have not had the steep climb that they once had. Some people blame this on saturation, but could the decline in personalized customer service be part of the problem?
Readers Are People Too
I love the personal touch that I can give as a self-published author. I am starting to see each new reader that I get as a face, a personality, a relationship I am developing with every event and every piece of online content. During this past week, this realization has solidified as I have met a number of people in person, some of which I had known in the past, but others I am actually meeting for the first time. Some of these had only met online. Others I met without social media connection.
Readers are not mindless followers. They are people who have a huge demand on their time. I am learning to be grateful that these individuals are willing to invest a few dollars and the time to read my books. I am determined to offer my readers the best product, the best “novel” experience that they can receive. If I am at an event, I choose to smile and let them know that I really care about them. If someone comments on my blog, I will answer them graciously, even when the comments are from disrespectful and obnoxious trolls. (Other readers will see through them, and take them for what they are. The troll will be seen as a troll and you will have the other readers’ respect). I also respect my readers by not feeding them a lot of advertising and promotion but offer them value for their time.
Live events remind us that readers, ike the writer, are people too. Like the Walmart greeter and the Late Sam Walton, we need to ensure that our readers know that we care about them, not just as someone who buys our books, but as real people who are worth caring about.
Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church 1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm. As Author Cygnet Brown, she has published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener
She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.