Ahhh! THe advantages of a small town. I like to do business in my small town. This is not just because I'm a chamber member or a local citizen. It is because that when I'm in a crunch, I'll have someone to call on.
I have a perfect example. Over Christmas our big freezer went out at "The Shed" which is our family gathering place. Complete with all of the fixings for the holidays! On the Friday at lunchtime before Christmas!
Only in a small town would we see what happened next. We called and a repairman came out that afternoon. We have friends in the rent all business who helped us to get a freezer there within one hour! He wasn't at work so I called his wife at home -- she helped! Christmas was saved!
I saved some money and bought our school firewall from an online company that I adore and provides great customer service. We went back to school on Monday as teachers and I discovered that lightning had hit the firewall and modem. The modem is serviced locally by the city. Two men came in through the pouring rain and replaced the modem. It is Thursday and my firewall is still waiting. It is in transit and I have a shipment number but its just that it is still in transit. I have 350 students and 35 faculty waiting with bated breath for someone out of town to help. You see, no one worked on Monday and I had no one to call. They are great companies but I had no one to call.
Doing business locally is about just that...having someone to call. Having someone to help you when times are tough. I love to pench a penny but I pay a little more locally and when I'm in real trouble I have friends as well as vendors. I like to do the same for my customers. They know I will not leave them when the chips are down.
Think about local business when you think about the best customer service. You don't need a cheat sheet to find your friends!