1. Constantly Gather Information
When you ask questions, you’re certain to learn things. That’s why asking customers the right questions can be important. You will not only learn about their intentions and be able to serve them better, but you’ll also flatter them by the simple act of caring. The questions should start with gathering info to guide them in the right direction, but if the conversation takes off and becomes more personal, don’t be afraid to ask them a few more personal questions as well to get to know them as a person. Personable interactions will keep your customers coming back. So, ask questions and use the gathered information to provide the best customer service possible.
2. Introduce Employees and Customers by Name
While you’re gathering information and keeping things personable, introduce yourself and your employees by name. Do your best to also remember theirs! When you remember a customer’s name, it shows that you value them enough to do so. They will feel special and remember the sentiment! Greeting customers by name shows how much you appreciate their business. They will be more likely to come back as well as referring their friends and family.
3. Stay Present Without Hovering
Although it’s recommended that you stay personable and gather information, make sure not to hover. People love to know that you’re there for them, but also like to feel like they have some freedom to discover things for themselves. If they’re already looking at all of your products, the last thing you want is to distract them away from them! I’ve been in stores where the salesperson talked and distracted me so much that I couldn’t even look at the products that I was interested in. This is bad for business. I enjoy a good conversation and knowing that someone is there if I need them, but it boils down to balance. Being available for them but not overcrowding them is a balancing act worth learning.
4. The magic words, “please” and “thank you”
Growing up, your parents likely told you to use your manners. They were shaping you for the world today! People tend to put a lot of emphasis on the words “please and thank you,” so be sure to use them to avoid appearing rude. In fact, going the extra mile to hold doors, shake hands, look someone in the eyes when speaking to them and other mannerly gestures can really make a difference in the customer’s experience and perception of your establishment.
5. Atmosphere – colors, decoration, music, and design
It’s all about the “vibes” of your establishment, shop, booth or event. There are a lot of different aspects that go into creating a great atmosphere for the customer. One of the main universal atmospheric essentials is music. No matter what kind of business you have, (unless you run a library,) music makes things better! Another important aspect is the use of colors and lighting. Colors can make a huge difference in the way your store makes people feel. For example, you can use bright colors to showcase exciting elements. This will easily evoke a fun and exciting mood in your customers. Your design, decorations and floor plan also have a huge impact on how a customer might feel in your establishment.
6. Be Discreet with a Customer’s information
Whether you’re asking for a customer’s phone number, asking them to donate to a cause or letting them know that their credit card was declined, be discreet! I can’t emphasize this enough. People do not like disclosing personal information or being put on the spot with other people listening in. It feels invasive. Try using different methods to gather the information if possible. There are many ways to gather information using technology rather than asking out loud. If you do have to ask something personal or disclose information out loud, just make sure to be discreet and respectful about it. The customer will appreciate this, especially in cases where it avoids them embarrassment if their card is declined.
7. Free stuff, Coupons, VIP Clubs, Stickers, Birthday Gifts
Provide incentives and rewards for loyal customers to keep them coming back! There’s no doubt that people LOVE free stuff. Give them a free sticker or magnet and you have them advertising for you. Give them some coupons and they’ll likely come back and spend money knowing they have a discount on their next purchase. VIP Clubs and Birthday rewards are a great way to keep your customers feeling special and in the loop. If they’ve signed up for VIP Club status or given you their birthday info, you can send them rewards and remind them how awesome your company is!