There are tons of ways to attract attention to your business, spending big bucks on ads & endorsements, getting creative with your marketing, or relying on social media and word of mouth, any of these can get the job done and send customers to your store, website, or business; the trick is keeping them coming back. Buckle up; it’s time for a review of manners that could increase your customer retention.
We’d all like to be the center of the universe at one point or another and it’s important to make your customer or client feel like they are. Of course, we all try to do this but sometimes it’s just not your day or other things are occupying your mind. You only get one chance to make a good first impression so try and stay aware of how you are coming across. Taking the time to listen to someone, whether to hear complaints, praise, or just an update on their family could mean the difference between a one-time shopper and a life-long customer. (We know you know this, but sometimes it helps to be reminded.)
But what about that “problem” customer? Take a deep breath and try to remember that any statement can be valid and beneficial to the improvement of your company. They may have a point. Yes, they could be more tactful about it, but if you can get past their lack-of-tact and improve a problem with your service or product, then it may be worth the time you spent gritting your teeth and biting your tongue. If the customer is the problem, close shop and move to Utah. We hear it’s beautiful out there. (JK… some customers simply won’t return on your time invested in them. When this happens, develop a plan to sensitively and politely cut ties.)
I used to be a hostess at a resort and I struggled with the position. I had never worked in a restaurant before and while I enjoyed the customers, the management left something to be desired. Regardless of my frustration, I would smile and have conversations with all the patrons. Many of them would come back and establish a witty banter with me, whether it was one older gentleman complaining about getting older and needing more seat cushions or a lady who always appreciated how polite and sincere I came across, saying I was “a keeper” (her words, I swear!) I’d like to think my behavior was at least part of the reason they returned time after time.
Let me play out a situation for you. You’re in a sporting goods store, and you find the item you’ve been looking for, but it’s a little more expensive than you thought. An employee then comes up to you and asks if you need anything and you ask if this is the best price for the item. The employee tells you that another store is currently having a sale on that product.
Now, if I was in this situation, being the cheapskate that I am, I might go to that other store depending on how much I will be saving and how much time and resources I would need to dedicate to getting there. I will, however, be going back to the original store in the future because that employee has just established a relationship of trust with me.
That employee could have possibly shown me another item in-store that was cheaper but just as reliable as the first, and I would have been happy in that situation as well. They could have lied to me, and I would be none the wiser, but we wouldn’t have established the bond that we now have. This bond was created because this employee showed me that my needs are more important than a sales quota.
The business might have lost some money in the short run, whether to the competitive prices at other store or by me purchasing their cheaper product, but they’ve gained a loyal customer in me. Training your employees to cultivate relationships with customers could be extremely beneficial to your continued success. (Happy customers also tend to spread the word.)
Your customers will have more confidence in you and your product or service if you channel positivity. If an employee is super excited to tell me about a new product, I know they’re being authentic and it cultivates that relationship we were discussing earlier.
Positivity and enthusiasm, in general, will go a long way. I went to the bank the other day, and I had a young man as my teller who kept a conversation flowing the whole time. We connected over both having our first professional 9 – 5 jobs and our experience in college. His investment in the conversation left a really good impression on me. It also makes going to the bank less of a chore.
Nobody likes a butthead. Being polite and asking someone how their day is going or how their family is, really goes a long way. Engaging and being open with customers helps establish trust.
People might not feel comfortable interacting with you if you’re doing your best impersonation of a lamp shade. And since my track-record shows that I’ll do amazing things to avoid people that make me feel uncomfortable, not returning to a business where the people are rude is a piece of cake.
Some of these “tricks” are no-brainers, but it’s amazing what we can overlook when we’re caught up in all the other things going on in life. This is just a gentle reminder that there are some easy (and free I will add) ways to keep customers coming back.