6 Things You Can Do Right Now to Keep Customers Close!
Rich Kizer & Georgeanne Bender
- Become a 1%-er. Vow to be just one percent better each day and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish! That little one percent more will help you look at your store with fresh eyes, seeing opportunity where you've never seen it before. Your customers will notice - and so will your competition. Being a 1%-er requires focus and commitment.
- Keep Your Eye On the Big Picture. Always keep one eye on the BIG picture - long range goals for you store. You need short term goals as well, but understand that to keep the future bright, you have to make future plans. Part of this planning involves keeping track of retail trends, keeping notebooks of things you'd like to do, floor moves you'd like to make, lines you'd like to sell, etc. When vendors visit your store, spend quality time with them, taking full advantage of his or her knowledge.
If you don't have time to set goals or work on the big picture ask your team for help. When you turn over some of the day-to-day tasks to your associates, you'll find extra time in your day. Don't be afraid to delegate! Remember this African proverb: "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." The same goes for the goals you set. You can easily accomplish your goals by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable, easy-to-do steps. Plan your work, and then work your plan.
- Know that the Customer's Definition is the Only One that Counts. Every retailer has an opinion of their customer service and it's usually better than what their customers think. But when it comes to service, the customer's definition is the only one that counts.
Don't assume you know what your customers are thinking. If they're not happy they probably won't tell you, they'll just quietly go someplace to buy what you sell. If you don't know how your guests define great service then you're going to have to ask.
One day a month, station yourself near the front door and conduct Exit Interviews. Introduce yourself and ask customers if they found everything they were looking for. Ask about their in-store experience and their interaction with store associates. Ask if there are any classes or events they'd like to attend or product they wish you carried.
When a customer tells you something good, write it down! Use their positive quotes in social media posts, ads, bag stuffers, in-store signing, and on your website. A customer testimonial is instant credibility because it's 10 - 20 times more believable than what you have to say about yourself.
- Ask our "BIG Question". Ask customers, "What ONE thing could we do to ___________________? You fill in the blank. You might ask, "What ONE thing could we do to improve our customer service?" or "What ONE service could we add that would make it more convenient for you to shop here?" or "What ONE product line would you like us to carry?" Because the customer has to put thought into their answer, you will hear constructive things that you will be able to implement. And don't be surprised if several customers tell you a variation on the same theme - that's a good thing! If it's positive then you have one more thing to brag about, and if it's negative, then you know just what to fix.
- Do one more thing. Before the customer leaves the store, before you hang up the telephone, before you hit send on that e-mail, do one more thing. Invite the customer to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Ask if they'd like to receive your newsletter, e-mail blasts, and be a part of your loyalty club. Do or suggest anything that will keep that customer close to your store.
- Let Your Lions Roar! Are your store associates all reading from the same page in the same book that you are reading from? Each one brings a unique talent to your store, but you have to let them use it. Get them hyper-involved in store operations. We've seen hundreds of great "associate ownership" examples where store programs, operations, promotions, merchandising and more have been turned over to associates. When looked upon as more than a body who can fog a mirror or ring a register, these associates have demonstrated an ability to perform tasks, introduce profit-producing ideas, and encourage others to work with customers in ways that would make any retailer proud.
You know why this works? Letting your lions - your associates - roar works because they know that you believe enough in them to let them try. If they fail, talk about what could have been done differently and then they move on. A trust, no, a sense of ownership overtakes the associate and they continually strive to do more for the store.
Kizer & Bender will be presenting The Power of Branding on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 2 pm EST as a part of NSSEA's Webinar Series. Learn more
Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender are professional speakers, retail strategists, authors and consultants whose client list reads like a "Who's Who" in business. Companies internationally depend upon them for timely advice on consumers and the changing retail market place. In 2010 KIZER & BENDER made Meetings & Conventions Magazine's list of Meeting Planners Favorite Keynote Speakers; they've also been named "Two of Retailing's Most Influential People." And with good reason: Rich and Georganne are experts on generational diversity, consumer trends, marketing and promotion, and everything retail. They are widely referred to as retail anthropologists because they stalk and study that most elusive of mammals: today's consumer. This article was originally published in Kizer & Bender's Retail Adventure's Blog.