These days, it’s not enough to have a good product at a competitive price. You need to be doing more to build loyalty. Customers have many options on where they can shop. There are traditional brick and mortar businesses, but there are also online retailers that you’re competing against, too. So if you want to stay competitive, you need to take it a step above to show your customers that you care about them and the business that they provide. Customers expect businesses to compete for their loyalty, and ramping up your customer service is the way to build a regular customer base. Here are a few techniques that you can try to build it.
1. Say “thank you”
One of the most important things you need to teach your employees is to thank your guests. It’s standard business protocol in restaurant and retail, and if you’re not doing it, your customers might even see you as rude. Build this simple statement into your culture, and your customers will know that you care about their business.
2. Be Knowledgeable
You need to instill in your employees a strong product knowledge. Customers have questions about products, and they expect a certain level of knowledge. If you own a large grocery store, your employees won’t know every ingredient in every product, but they can have an idea about which products use natural ingredients, and they can help the customer decipher labels.
3. Go Above and Beyond
Along with having a solid knowledge of the products, customers also expect that employees will be willing to find an answer if they don’t already have one. For instance, if one of your customers wants to know if an out-of-stock product will be in soon, your employees should know how to find the answer. Few things look lazier to a customer than a shrug of the shoulders. Teach your employees where to find answers, and let your employees know how to prioritize their workload. A customer’s question or request always takes precedence overstocking shelves or ordering inventory. You can also instill in your employees a sense of going beyond. For instance, if one of your employees sees a customer struggling with their packages, teach your employees to go out of their way to open the door or even take the customer’s packages out to their car for them.
Although you want most of your customers walking out of the store with only positive things to say about their experience, there are situations in which your employees will need to take some criticism with a positive attitude. This tends to be a difficult thing to swallow for a lot of people, but employees need to be able to listen to criticism for things that they didn’t necessarily have any part of. For instance, if you have a guest that is upset because a product is out of stock, the employee much figure out how to take the critique with grace and assure the guest that their concern is being taken to heart.
5. Adapt to Customers
Customers have different personalities, and they have different ways of expressing themselves. Your employees need to understand body language and be able to adapt to a variety of customers. This is an extremely difficult skill to teach, but many people have a knack for understanding how a customer is feeling and how to handle it. Sometimes, customers will come into the store in a mood that has nothing to do with the store. Your employees need to know how to respond to their moods. Since this is a difficult skill to teach, you should try to hire people who have strong interpersonal skills.
6. Be Friendly and Sincere
Hire for these qualities, too. You need your employees to show genuine caring for your customers. This means that they should be willing to be friendly and ask customers if they found what they’re looking for. They also need to be able to show authenticity and sincerity.
Your loyal customers are a huge part of your business. If you want to show them that you appreciate their business, make sure that you’re showing them that you care about them. You employees should put in the effort to know their regulars, but you can also do a few things to make them feel special. Offer rewards to show them that you appreciate their repeat business. Providing true customer care is an ongoing process. Customers have countless places that they could take their business. Whether you are a brick and mortar store or an e-tailer, and whether you have a product or a service that you’re selling, you want your customers coming back. Excellent customer service is the way to make it happen.