Tag Archives: business

10 Top Tips to Keep Your Customers Coming Back

Part One

Study after study says it easier and cheaper to keep customers coming back! Here are my 10 top tips to do that.

successful business team group with thumbs up
1. Be friendly by smiling…call customers by their name whenever possible.

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,

Peter

Keep Staff Connected to Enhance Customer Experience

Matt Rolfe in his November 27, 2014 blog “Five tips for effective employee engagement surveys” states some startling statistics… 60 – 100 percent of staffers leave voluntarily on an annual basis. That affects guest experience, social media ratings and profit.

In the hospitality and retail industries most of your staff work in some capacity directly with customers. One of the key members of your staff is your manager; through his/her leadership staff will gel into a cohesive team focused on providing great service or not. Your business success depends on good-to-great leadership otherwise a large percentage of your staff will leave. A business is a team effort so your supportive guidance along with your manager‘s is critical.

Rolfe further states that replacing a staff member costs a business one to three times the staff member’s annual salary.

Over the course of a year that could turn a lot of potential profits into ashes!

Working_computer_Program_IMG_0803

Based on his own experiences, Rolfe has found staff quit most often because there is a problem with managers, not necessarily with the business. He recommends an employee engagement survey as a performance indicator. Visit www.restaurantcentral.ca/employeeengagementsurveys.aspx for his five tips for effective surveys.

All businesses are in the business of relationship building both with their customers and their staff. A survey is an excellent tool but if you can’t see yourself monitoring performance through a formal survey, perhaps these suggestions will be some help until you can put a survey in place.

To enhance customer experiences and reduce staff turnover, it is important to give public and peer recognition to your staff.

  • Saying a verbal thank-you after a notable effort means a lot to a staff member who wants to be part of your team.

  • Seeking staff input through staff meetings and putting some of their suggestions into action is another form of relationship building.

  • Being in integrity and building impartial leadership creates a safe environment for open communications.

  • Formal recognition milestones also play an uplifting role in staff engagement.

  • Making the team environment a lighthearted place to work improves performance.

  • Putting heart-felt, handwritten ‘Thank you Team’ notices on the bulletin board communicates appreciation.

  • Implementing friendly competition events with fun rewards within your business fosters team building as well as sponsoring teams for local community sports events.

  • Encouraging staff volunteer efforts for local community non-profit organizations is an avenue for compassion for others.

  • Set aside two 15 minute sessions each week, to confidentially talk face-to-face with two different staff members. Let all your staff know the purpose of the talks is to make their workplace a more satisfying and stimulating environment. Remember these confidential sessions are sacred! Honor your staff by making time for them. To focus the conversation, have a list of 2-3 discussion topics to start with.

  • When a staff member chooses to leaves, have a policy for an end-of-employment interview to thank them for being part of the team, find out what they liked best and least, suggestions for improvements and wishing the best for them in their new position. Make sure all employees know about this interview and what to expect when their employment is finished.

Creating an effective, open form of communication keeps your staff connected to enhance customer experiences. All businesses are in the business of relationship building.

How does PFS help with this process? In our surveys that get sent out one of the questions asked is about the person (employee) that served them. If you assign employee to have their own id in the program it tracks the customers they served. So even if the customer forgets the name of the server our program helps remember.

Here’s to YOUR Success!

Peter

Season Greetings

At Plenty Full Services we have enjoyed making a match for your personalized customer satisfaction program to keep your customers engaged with your business.

Wishing you a…

PFS_Christmas_Bloom

 

And may 2016 bring you all the customers you need.

2016 Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

We are here to help keep on bringing them back… throughout the Year.

Here’s to Your Success,

Peter

Customer Loyalty Programs Don’t Work: Part Two

(Remember to charge the battery!)

PFS_Cell_Phone_Charging_Quote

What happens to your cell phone, laptop, iPad or other electronic devices when the battery is dead? Not Much! Like your device, a Customer Loyalty program needs to be charged too.

You can have the best Customer Loyalty program out there but if you don’t know how to best use it, how powerful is it? In the beginning, there are two things to keep in mind.

  1. You have to be clear about the results you want your loyalty program to create. What are your goals?
  2. Create a checklist of what to look for in a program. It is critical that it fits your business. When you decide a loyalty program is the future for your business, learn how to use it and run full out with it.

A loyalty program does nothing until you take the actions to implement it (charging its battery).

PFS_Cell_Phone_Calling

  • Invite people to enter their contact information into the program’s database so you can keep in touch with them.
  • Decide what incentives you will give to your customers and how often? The incentives have to be something your customers value; it must answer their W.I.I.F.M. (what’s in it for me) question.
  • Train your staff to actively promote the program. Face-to-face invitations get the best results. Your program needs to be promoted as an advantage to your customers…to show that you care about them…you appreciate them…because customers are your bread and butter.
  • Provide incentives for your staff to promote your new loyalty program. They have W.I.I.F.M. questions too. Most of them will be dealing directly with your customers; you want your best image put forward. Make it fun for everyone.
  • Most importantly, devote time every day/week in the beginning to become familiar with how to operate your program. It will save you time and eliminate frustration.

Click here at plentyfullservices.com for a checklist of what to look for in a loyalty program. PlentyFULLServices is designed for business owners who want a flood of customers coming through their doors and a simple, effective way to extend customer satisfaction.

Here’s to Your Success,

Peter

Customer Loyalty Programs Don’t Work: Part One

(A tool to gather dust or customers?)

A Customer Loyalty program is like buying a new car. It won’t go unless you get into the car, turn on the ignition and put it into gear. It is only a tool. Leave it on the shelf…it’s an expense. Put it to good use and it will draw in a surge of customers through your doors.newspaper_bw3

A Customer Loyalty program is quite different than an ad in the paper. Although both require a compelling incentive to create an emotional tug for someone to act on your offer, their deliveries are like night and day. With newspapers, people have to see the ad which means they have to pick up the correct paper and look through it. Where’s your ad? How big do you have to make it? What section is best for the most exposure? How many competitor’s ads will be nearby? Your marketing expertise is tested. With a Customer Loyalty program, an offer is delivered to a person’s inbox or phone. Simply decide on a subject line.
People are conditioned to the sound of their cell phone. They always check to see who’s calling or messaging. Both their visual and auditory senses are stimulated. A printed ad can only stimulate visually. Today’s savvy business owners need to tap into the world of sight and sound to grab the attention of their customers…Customer Loyalty programs meet this need.

Happy_Customers_cell_phone_sm
Click here at plentyfullservices.com for a checklist of what to look for in a loyalty program. Plenty FULL Services is designed for business owners who want a flood of customers coming through their doors and a simple, effective way to extend customer satisfaction.
Here’s to Your Success,

Peter

Circle, Squiggle, Triangle and Square Customers Part II

In my blog, ‘Loyalty is a Circle, Squiggle, Triangle or Square’, I briefly explained the personality types from a shopper’s perspective. Personality types also can be used for more effective communication and relationship building in other areas of a business’ life.

Personality_Shapes_Connie_P

Visit www.ConniePodesta.com for an explanation of personality shapes assessment.

For marketing purposes, the four personality types can be reduced to two groups: the ‘Circles and Squiggles’ or the ‘Triangles and Squares’. Continue reading

Loyalty is a Circle, Squiggle, Triangle or Square

The Way to Build Customer Relationships Part One.

Customers are tired of Loyalty Points programs that make it too difficult to use, too confusing to understand or take too long to earn a reward. Also, they want rewards that have enough value to make it worthwhile to participate.
But rewards alone will not keep a customer loyal. Loyalty programs are about relationships…the communication connection between the customer and the staff or management personnel. Continue reading

No one to answer the phone?

No one to answer the phone… = frustrated customer, frustrated owner

Have you ever phoned a business and heard endless ringing or a busy signal every time?

In today’s world of instant everything we expect something to happen when we dial a phone number, especially when it is a business phone. At the very least, we expect a voice mail although our preference always is a person.

So why is the phone not answered, especially when it is your business? When your business is closed during after hours or special holidays, there should be an answering machine with a polite welcome message. But when your business is open… what then?

Smile & Greet_Now

Continue reading

Loyalty Programs are Hot

Loyalty programs are not just for ‘Big Business’. If you want to stay in the game, consider having a mobile-friendly loyalty program to keep your customers engaged.

Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) highlighted the latest trends for eating establishments in an August 20, 2014 article..

One of the hottest areas of innovation is loyalty programs. Consumers especially younger generations demand technology-enabled speed and convenience in everything they do, including ordering and paying for restaurant meals. Beyond that, they have a hunger to belong. They want to align themselves with brands that reflect their lifestyles and values and they want to be rewarded for doing so.”

Further along in the same article they stated…Eight out of 10 participants in restaurant rewards programs affirm that they’re more likely to frequent a restaurant where they’re recognized as a loyal patron. And regardless of whether they currently participate in any loyalty programs, nine out of 10 consumers say they’d be likely to sign up for a new program inaugurated by a restaurant that was already a favourite of theirs. Of these enthusiasts, 94% say that after joining the new rewards club, they would likely patronize that restaurant even more often going forward.”

Car 4sale Old

Just like automobiles were in the early 1900’s, loyalty programs are the ‘wave of the future’. But remember your customers want great value and convenience. NRN also stated in their article that…

“Two-thirds of consumers say they’d likely turn down the chance to join a restaurant loyalty program if there were a joining fee, and almost half would take a pass if they felt the rewards weren’t worth the hassle of signing up.”

So you have to ‘know’ your customers to decide what they would find valuable and don’t charge a fee for signing up. That’s like closing your doors and expecting customers to come in.

If you don’t own a restaurant, it doesn’t mean you don’t need a loyalty program. In fact you probably need it even more. The NRN article also stated…

“Your best customers want to feel they’re special and part of the action. Reward loyalty members with frequent coupons and special deals, exclusive chances to sample and comment on new items, and other members-only perks.”

OPEN_NOW

Every day you delay implementing a loyalty program NRN notes you are “leaving money on the table”. A loyalty program is an increasingly powerful tool to keep your present customers, attract new customers and increase customer referrals.

In this digital age, what are your thoughts about making technology work for you to attract customers?

http://nrn.com/sponsored-content/diner-loyalty-digital-age Nation’s Restaurant News’ sponsored by American Express

Plenty FULL Services is a money-saving, mobile-friendly loyalty program that can be customized to fit any type of business. Remember, customers want to be rewarded.

Attracting Success to your business…

Peter

Your Staff is Your Voice with Your Customers

It’s my experience savvy staff know politeness, helpfulness and a smile translate into cash tips in the hospitality industry. Your staff is your frontline face for your business no matter what industry. Smiling faces and voices welcome customers, put them at ease and give them the feeling they are respected. Yes, it is important to have well trained staff, but I find it is equally important for staff to feel they have the support of your business behind them.

Teams Have more fun-2

Anything you can do to make your staff feel part of the team is good for business. It is the little things that count. A word of gratitude for a job well done, a signed card with a bonus cheque at Christmas time, public recognition for their work…there’s lots of ways to build a team. When your business has teamwork you can guide your staff to talk with customers in the way you want. Their voices reflect your message with customers.

Of course there will always be staff that are there only for the paycheque, but others have deep personal values and always strive to do a great job. Those loyal staff members not only deserve to be rewarded but must be rewarded with satisfaction in both tangible and intangible ways. Staff can be your biggest asset or your biggest liability. If you have a system to reward your staff with things they value, some of your paycheque-only staff may change their attitude. Finding ways to make your staff into your greatest asset pays huge dividends. Remember, your staff is your voice with your customers.

It is the day-to-day actions that build or destroy a staff-management relationship.

  • Always speak with your staff like you would like to be treated.
  • Be flexible, but also clear about your expectations that come with the job. Give them a vision.
  • Voice your satisfaction immediately with individual staff when you see outstanding work, especially the ‘small’ things.
  • When you have a concern with one of your staff, begin the discussion by giving a compliment first.
  • At staff meetings start discussing what went right first. Then you can go into asking for input for improvements, setting goals for the team to focus on, asking for solutions when challenges crop up or whatever pressing topics need to be addressed.
  • Consistently be the example for your ‘Business Face’ to steep your staff in your business culture. After all, you cannot always be in front of every customer so your staff is your voice with your customers.

What is your experience with building staff loyalty?

waitress

Visit Plenty FULL Services (PFS) for ‘Staff Management Tips’ to make your work load easier to manage.

Here’s to your success!

Peter