In today’s struggling economy, it should be no surprise that many consumers are shopping less. So it’s important that when you see that customer walk out the door, you feel reassured that he/she will return. Here are a few simple, yet effective ways to ensure that the customer will return.
Make the customer feel welcome, upon entering – ” Welcome to _______, how are you today?”
It’s true, many consumers won’t stay long or return to your business if they don’t feel they aren’t welcome. With this in mind, a simple warm friendly greeting to acknowledge that you appreciate the customer’s arrival, sets the tone for a pleasant experience.
Get to know your customer – “So may I ask what brings you in today?”
Take some direction from the song “Getting to Know You”, because it could help you score (no pun intended) big points with the most important part of your business- The Customer.
The truth is, if they entered your business, they had a reason to do so. So why not take the time to find out why? Don’t wait for them to ask for your assistance, ask questions to understand more about the nature of their visit. Instead of asking, “Can I help you with anything?”, ask the question “May I ask what brings you in today?” This helps you to assess the person’s need/needs in a more effective way.
If they just happen to be one of the few people who are”just in the neighborhood”, then make them aware about special products or services that may interest them. By presenting your knowledge to the customer, customers will recognize you as a credible source to contact for this, as well as, future purchases.
Go the extra mile – “Let me get that for you.”
Take the initiative to go above and beyond to exceed customer expectations. For example, if you own a dress boutique and your store doesn’t have shoes to match a particular dress. Suggest a couple of shoe stores that may offer matching shoes to the customer. And for the cherry on top, while the customer is there, you may call the shoe store to make them aware that the customer may be stopping by. It’s these little tokens of gratitude that will help gain customer loyalty.
It’s been over eight years, since I worked as a customer service specialist for a discount store and I still get approached by strangers telling me how important I made them feel. Believe me, people don’t forget the good things you do and will always return for it.
Offer an incentive – “This is for you.”
Let’s face it. Everyone likes to get something for free. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be like Oprah and give everyone a car for visiting your business. While I’m sure you would have no trouble filling your business with repeat customers, but this isn’t practical.
The incentive I’m referring to could be something as small as having a coffee dispenser at the front of the store with free baked cookies. It could also be a program that celebrates customer loyalty, such as buy 9, get the 10th free. One of my favorite ice cream parlors in Mobile, Alabama offers an loyalty incentive program. And while their yogurt is a little pricey, every time I am in the Mobile area I am compelled to stop by and get a scoop. Because I know that eventually, I’m going to get to the free one.
Make them feel appreciated with or without purchasing – “Thanks for stopping by and please come again!”
Hopefully, you’ve met all of the customer’s needs and they are completing their purchase transaction. So what better way to make their shopping experience complete than by thanking them with a smile and letting them know you want them to return.
However, whether the customer makes a purchase or not, they were willing to take the time to come into your store. If you made them feel welcome and took the time to get to know them, they will return. More than likely, they will also tell others about it.
It’s important to remember if there was not a customer, there would be no need for your business. We have to remember the service we expect, when we’re administering it. If you make the customer’s experience a pleasurable one from start to finish, there should be no reason for them to not want to return.