One of the first concerns of a business owner, president, director, manager or anyone working for a company, is to find effective ways to make the customer come in.
Marketing plans, advertising, social media, PR, outreach programs, community events…name it, and I am sure you will probably try it all.
Whether you are in retail and need to set a fabulous window that will distinguish you from the store next door, while grasp your customer attention and be inviting enough to bring her/him in; or you are a writer, who need to use the absolute right title and have a very eye-catching cover, so people who never heard about you will want to buy your book; or a doctor, who will have the most friendly front desk staff and a very pleasant waiting room, you will always be looking for a way to attract customers.
We all want the prospect customer to come in, to check on our products or services, to give us the chance to explain our service or demonstrate our product, to prove how effectively, assertively and perfectly we will fulfill their needs.
No doubt this is a vital concern for the business: we need the traffic to be able to convert those prospects into customers.
But once they come in, why would they buy from you? Or even more challenging: why would they come back, buy again, become a loyal customer?
Even your very satisfied customers may by from your competition some times: an irresistible price tag, free shipping, more flexible return policies, other perks…many factors can push your satisfied customer to your competitors’ direction .
So, how do we keep them coming back?
Here are some insights of what works for me:
1- Put your customer first: everyone likes to feel special, to feel valued. When your customers understand that you not only value their business, but value them as individuals, they will pay you back with loyalty.
2- ALWAYS remember their names, what they like, what they care for (family, pets, events), their profession/workplace. And if you don’t have that good of a memory…that’s what clientele books are for!
3- Be transparent: do not ever try to fool your customers – believe me, they will know. Be clear about policies, be authentic, treat them respectfully (ALWAYS!), and more than that, prompt to honor your business’ commitments – that credit that they forgot about, the coupon that they forgot at home (and you know they are eligible for!), the promo that will start tomorrow (how many times you saw this one happening…) or anything else that you can show their value and YOUR loyalty too.
4- Be available: for your customer, there is not more upsetting than having to wait for you – it really gives them the perception that you do not care. On the phone? Call later – you have a customer right there that wants your attention. Going for lunch? Postpone it – get to your customer first.
5- Keep a happy environment: who of us have never stepped into a store and saw associates that pretended they didn’t see you; or the ones that “make the faces” when you show up to return something; or the ones dragging their feet not to do anything? Motivate your team and make them understand that importance of having fun with your customers, smiling, creating a happy atmosphere.
6- Offer convenience: make it easy! Keep your merchandise available and organized, set an upbeat pace for your crew and make them move (quickly!), make the checkout experience smooth and quick (is there anything more annoying than when you want to checkout quickly and the cashier starts offering you credit cards, magazine subscriptions, ask for donations and go on and on? – make sure that your associates are trained and know to offer whatever products/services they need while on the floor, engaging the customers).
7- Know your competition: if you cannot match their prices and discounts, you must have a true competitive edge – is the quality of your product/service genuinely better? Is there a long term perk (like points to be redeemed later) that your competition does not offer but you do? Is her overall experience more pleasant? Ask yourself ALL the time – what can you offer that your competition does not already?
8- Ask for feedback, for suggestions and take them seriously: your customers will feel amazing if when they come back they see their suggestions implemented somehow.
So, why should your customers come back? Because you are committed to give them the best experience, you value them and their business and, because YOU ARE LOYAL TO THEM!
The most important thing is that customer loyalty does not happen with a blink of an eye: it is hard work, it is a commitment to excellence, it is company culture.
It is important that this commitment is renewed every day, that the customer experience is the ultimate goal for you, your team, your company. It is a personal decision that shall truly reflect in higher customer satisfaction, repeat business and increase in revenue.
Filed under: Biz Parlor Categories | Tagged: Business, Competitive edge, Customer, customer attention, Customer experience, Customer loyalty, Customer satisfaction, Customer service, Loyalty, outreach programs, Public relations, Repeat business, Repeat customer |