One of the major advantages of small business has always been the relationships that staff and owners can develop with customers. Customers usually have direct access to the business owner and staff turnover, particularly if staff is family, tends to be low so customers get to know staff as staff get to know customers. In the best cases, customers become friends and strong advocates for the business resulting in high loyalty and strong repeat business. Traditionally for larger businesses developing these strong relationships has been almost impossible. Many businesses come across to customers as mechanical, uncaring and inflexible adhering to strict opening and closing times, policies and procedures. Staff turnover is high so there is little chance for relationships to form. Until now……

Has the onset of social media specifically product forum pages and company blogs, enabling heads of companies to communciate directly with customers and build relationships, taken this traditional advantage from small business?