Tag Archives: Service

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

Why Say Thanks to your Customers?

Thank-you with a smile is one of the most powerful words in the English language and in customer relationships. It is an expression of politeness between two people which creates a connection. Subconsciously it says ‘I respect and value you’. It sets the standard to begin a mutually polite conversation and keeps you in integrity. Said with 100% sincerity, it can overcome many obstacles. It’s like a bridge over a chasm of misunderstandings or a welcoming handshake inviting the person to a closer circle of friendship.

3542_thankyou[1] Continue reading

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

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

Keeping Customers Coming Back

Keeping Customers Coming Back

Part One

Today’s businesses are concerned with ‘customer retention’… keeping existing customers coming back instead of expending so much time, money and energy finding new ones. There are a number of challenges to keeping in touch with customers including more tasks than time in a day.

Some businesses have an invitation to complete a survey on the back of the till receipts they hand out to their customers.

This is a great innovation but the drawback is most customers either throw out the receipt or they forget about it by the time they get home. Plus more and more shoppers find there isn’t enough value for them to complete the survey.

till_receipt_offers_IMG_2128

Some till receipts have a discount offer.

But the restrictions don’t make it convenient for the shopper. For those who live an hour away from the store, a time-limited discount is not going to attract them back. The receipt gets tossed. If the discount is valid for several weeks, the shopper still won’t come back to use the offer if there are too many restrictions. Or worse… the customer does come back to make a purchase and finds out the discount does not apply. They didn’t read the fine print close enough… one instantly annoyed customer!

gros homme mécontent au supermarché

For a restaurant, having a card on the table for the customer to fill out is another response solution.

Someone has to record and analyze the comments to gain any benefit from the exercise. Again, there has to be some attractive value for the customer or they won’t take the time to fill it out. Customers want to be rewarded for spending their money.

These customer retention ideas and others have been around for a long time; long before the introduction of computers and other electronic devices. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, they need to be updated to the 21st century. Offers need to be connected to the individual shopper.

If you could easily keep your customers coming back month in and out, what would your business look like?

Until next time…

Peter

Customer Put on Hold

(then You Drop the Ball)

 Dropping a Tennis Ball on Black
Have you ever put a customer on hold on the phone saying it will take you 5 minutes to get an answer and then forgot them or it took 20 minutes? Somedays it seemed like the phone was permanently glued to my ear! I had the best intentions but there were so many things which happened in each day. It was tough to remember the customer who was on the phone earlier. Unless I wrote down a notethere was no physical reminder to trigger the thought to call them back. Sometimes even a note didn’t help.

Customers are not concerned with how busy your day is because they have pressing matters themselves. They just want to know if you can provide the service or item, when and for how much. So how do you make good when you’ve forgotten them, when you’ve dropped the ball?

phone_dialing_biz_sm

I found you usually can get the situation cleared up by…

  • phoning and starting with an apology for the delay.
  • thanking them for their patience. This tells them they are important to you.
  • giving them an offer to show how much you value them.

What if most days you could guarantee your customers being patient with you, especially when you drop the ball?

Imagine your business if all your customers truly felt loyal to you?

How do you think they would feel if you had an occasional ‘oops’, when you dropped the ball? My experience tells me most days they would overlook it. They would stay with your business because you gave them ‘special treatment’. Loyal customers stay with you through thick and thin.

Happy_Customers_cell_phone_sm

So how do you get loyal customers? First of all, you must have top-notch products and services. Then…

  • Develop a niche market. Your business must be unique is some small way so it remains memorable in your customers’ minds.
  • Listen to your customers. The’ll tell you what they like best and then give them more, or what they like least and then resolve it.
  • Be fully present with your customers. Really listen to them so they feel valued.
  • Reward them occasionally. Make it fun.
  • Do little things like keeping them informed of local events or places of interest such as museums.

Don’t have the time to do ‘all that stuff’? Then use a loyalty program.

A loyalty program lets you stay in touch with your customers consistently. Some will let you add a note to a customer’s account file so you can follow-up easily. Some have the ability to set up an immediate reward with a specific customer. This feature alone would pay big dividends in keeping your customers happy. Keeping customers thrilled is a great way to get more customers.

What one thing would you want a loyalty program to do to keep your customers happy even when you drop the ball?  Leave me a comment below.

Plenty FULL Services is an affordable loyalty program which makes it simple to keep your customers content. Visit www.plentyfullservices.com to get happy customers bringing customers to you.

Here’s to your Content Customers!

Peter

Keep Them Today, Tomorrow and Forever

Keeping Today’s Customers Tomorrow, Next Month and Next Year

Blanket print advertising has been a traditional mainstay of marketing but in today’s electronic world it is losing ground. Customers are mobile; they want instant results. Few are willing to find an offer in a paper, cut it out and bring it in. There are several permanent problems with crowd_peoplecoupons in the paper. First of all, the customer has to receive the paper. Next, this form of marketing encourages consumers to wait for the best price; they may or may not consider quality or service. Plus, the business has to plan well in advance to meet deadlines and have the right offer for the right season. Then a manual, time-consuming tracking system has to be in place to crunch the numbers quickly to see the effectiveness of the marketing campaign. Once the campaign is in place, it is permanent. It can’t be easily tweaked to suit subtle market changes. It can be very costly for the results it generates.

Continue reading

Prevention is Better Than Apologizing

Have you ever promised a customer that you can deliver a product and then discovered it is no longer available? Getting back right away, apologizing and suggesting alternative sources is good customer relations which pays back in the long run; but, what if this is a recurring problem? Finding the root cause of the problem is crucial. Some causes may include overextending yourself or your staff. Perhaps it is difficult to delegate projects out to your team. It may simply be miscalculating the amount of time projects require or maybe communicating with your customers takes more hours than you have in a day.
dove_with_olive_leaf_800_clr_8861

If the problem occurs repeatedly, your business creditability comes into question. Having the reputation of being slow or producing unreliable results turns customers away. Continue reading

The ROI of Your Marketing is Crucial

I was reading Ben Tepfer’s Business to Community blog about targeting what your customers want. He has some very valid points. In a nutshell, he’s saying business people who directly market with their customers have to target what their customers want. The ROI on their marketing will show how well they are delivering what their customers want. The subliminal message is the marketer has to have a system in place to tell them what the return is for their marketing efforts.

FACE_TEXT_PEOPLEBen’s blog cites a report by Forbes Insights and Turn. Although less than half (45%) of the survey respondents rated redemption of promotions or discount codes as a strong influence on their engagement, 85% of consumers said they searched for promotions or discount codes for things they wanted. Continue reading