Study after study says it easier and cheaper to keep customers coming back! Here are my 10 top tips to do that.
a) Customers respond favourably when treated as an individual.
b) Give compliments. A sincere compliment has huge bonuses; your business is elevated. (People see it as a place with great service.)
c) Above all THANK customers as often as possible; remember to use eye contact. Sincerely thank customers for visiting even when they don’t buy. Sincerity builds trust and gives them a good feeling.
2. Ramp up your good service to great service by giving more than expected.
a) Even though it may be difficult at times to hire the ‘right’ people, train your staff to be friendly and knowledgable.
b) Sincerely compliment your staff; remember they are your customers too and thrive on appreciation.
c) Make friendly service part of your business culture. Create a team environment where staff feel safe to offer comments/ideas for improving service. “Fear of the boss” and lack of appreciation are the greatest hindrances for staff to provide extra-special service.
3. Be part of your community and promote it. Let customers know about local happenings. Be prepared to give donations but remember they can be double-purposed. For example:
a) Donate an item for a silent auction with the promise to fund the bidder’s chosen charity by matching the dollar amount bid, up to a ceiling of ‘x’ amount.
b) Or give a ’12 month Growing Savings Certificate’…the winner of your certificate receives ‘x’ amount off any item of ‘y’ value or greater in your store in January. In February they can receive ‘x+x’ amount off any item of ‘y’ value or greater. By March they can receive ‘x+x+x’ amount off and so on. By December they will have 12 ‘x’ amount savings while purchasing items from your store each month. It becomes a win-win. (Remember the ‘y’ value always has to be greater than the cumulative ‘x’ value.)
4. Keep your facility welcoming, tidy and in good repair…
a) It is a must to have clean public washrooms.
b) Also, keep your supplies out of sight from public areas. Store them in the back of the store.
c) For the comfort of your customers, room temperature needs to be appropriate for your business.
d) Have appropriate lighting (subdued lighting for romantic dining; brighter lighting for a hardware store).
e) Maintenance must be up-to-date (replace burnt out light bulbs, repair worn out floor tiles/seating).
f) Display hours of operation in a prominent place such as under your ‘open’ sign.
g) Keep your frontage clear of snow and obstacles.
h) Your cash register area needs to be neat and clear of any unnecessary paper materials (it’s not your office). A bouquet of fresh flowers or a full candy dish is a nice touch. Once flowers start to wilt, replace them.
5. Seek and use customer feedback to improve your service. Your customers are experts on what they like and expect from your business but make it easy for them to give their feedback. Automated calls are impersonal and can be disruptive which may have a negative effect. The best method to get a response from your customers needs to provide a value or reward; but whatever method you choose, respond to the individual in a timely fashion with a thank you. Remember customers like to be treated like people not numbers.
What action will you make today to keep customers coming back?
May customers flood through your doors,