Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. You need to treat them well in order to keep food on the table and a roof over your head.
So you say... tell me something I don't know! OK, but to put things into perspective, when was the last time you went above and beyond for a customer? Really above and beyond? C'mon now, be honest.
Try this... put yourself in your customer's shoes. Not just the great ones, and the ones you know personally... but each and every one. Everyday, you make the choice on where to take your business and buy something. If you are treated like a number, or like a mindless sheep, and taken for granted, ... are you happy?
But if a merchant appreciates you, welcomes you and remembers you... you're a customer for life.
So, do you appreciate your customers? If not, you'd better start... because once someone else does, "poof"...
Your business just vanished.
By now you've guessed my #1 recommendation for keeping your clients happy.
Yes... do your best to "know" each and every customer.
Trust me, people like to do business with people they know and like. I often get asked if I'm worried about the growing competition offered by big box stores, grocery stores, and even the buckets of flowers placed on the counter at the hardware store.
The answer is "no." Because the small business person can always distinguish him/herself from the big guys by offering a personalized, personable buying experience. Most people will pay extra for that.
And that comes down to knowing and appreciating each and every one of your customers. Yes, even the ones that aren't that easy to appreciate!
To make things easier, here's what I suggest...
Keep a database of customer information on hand. This can be as high-tech or low-tech as you like. For instance, if you have a newer point of sale/inventory system in your store, you can add your customers directly to the database at point of purchase.
If you have a cash register, or just a cash box, a simple hand-written Rolodex system will work too. As long as you keep track of your customers, know their likes and dislikes, and have that information on hand so your staff can access it too... you're laughing.
Oh, and be sure your staff is "up-to-speed" on the whole "customer appreciation thing." All your efforts will be for nothing if a less-than-pleasant staff member makes an unfavorable impression on a customer.
You can compete with the big guys and make a decent living doing it, if you just do this one simple thing!
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