There is much competition in the market today for a seemingly smaller share of the rewards. Prices are lowered, big box stores are bringing in massive amounts of mass-produced products and selling them at just above cost to keep cash flowing. This has the effect of customers demanding the lowest price for everything and costing smaller retailers and services profits and market share. How can this be countered?
Customers appreciate being taken care of and made to feel important and special. The following ten points will explain how this is accomplished without adding extra costs to an already tight budget.
1) Bad or rude service by you or an employee will cause the paying customer to not return and will also get them talking badly about the business. No one needs bad publicity. Make certain that everyone working on your property treats all the people who walk through the front door as royalty. These customers pay your bills by buying your products or services.
An argument is sometimes made that some customers are not worth the time and effort and I would agree 100%. Those people would be best directed towards the competition. Let them deal with the bad attitude and bad publicity of these complainers and whiners.
2) Have a little extra service for your customers. The bad ones are no longer frequenting your business so only the good ones are entering your place. Offer them a tea or coffee, have a few chairs for them to sit on, offer reward programs, or pay for the parking. Show them you appreciate their business and make them feel special. Tiny kindnesses go a long way to keep people coming back. Remember they may have commuted a distance in heavy traffic, or had a bad day at the office, or just got off the phone with an angry partner/spouse. Make their day a bit easier for them and they will return.
3) Make sure to stock your shelves. Be certain that the product you have sold is available when a customer walks in the door. Unless your supplier suddenly went out of business overnight you have no excuse for not having favourite products in stock. If the customer walks in the door and you tell them that an advertised product is not available they are not happy to spend extra money. If however you do have the product at the sale price there is a good chance the customer will buy something extra because they figure they saved money/received value and are happy.
4) Repair and return of products has to be handled with courtesy and competence. Again treat the customer with VIP service by speedily repairing or replacing the product. It is always necessary to have a policy of standing behind your product/service.
5) The products you sell must meet the expectations of the purchaser. The picture quality of a television or computer monitor or the sound quality of an audio system is as good or better than the demonstration model. Delivery and installation services are prompt. Nobody likes to wait for a product they paid hard-earned money for or receive a product that under performs
6) The product you sell must match the expectations of the customer. An electronic device that fails after a short time or clothing seams that begin to unravel after a couple of washings will not endear the customer towards you or business. Leave it to the big box stores to sell substandard wares. You on the other hand are building a reputation on quality products and service.
7) The products you sell must also conform to expectations. Shoes, shirts and other clothing of the same size must fit the same. Other products must also be as closely similar as possible. A customer replacing an item with what he considers the same item wants it to be similar to the replaced article. The same holds true for services. A delivery service must deliver within the timeframe it promises. A restaurant deliver the same quality food to every table everyday it operates.
8) Products you sell must have durability. There is always an expectation that a product has an expected amount of use before it is replaced. If it breaks after only a few uses it will show your poor choice for stocking it. You do not want a customer complaining to you or at home/office about purchasing “a damn piece of junk.”
9) Customers buy products they like. They like them because of aesthetics. That is they like them because of how they feel, smell, taste, or look. Designer brands use this all the time to get and keep customers. Choose wisely the products you stock or the food you serve .
10) Customers also want to fit in or buy perceived quality. Think again about brand name designers, high-end watches, or expensive sports cars. These products bring in return customers because of their name. People like to be seen with Rolex watches, Ferrari sports cars or Chanel perfumes. Whenever possible stock items with quality names. You benefit from the international branding of the product and association with quality.