How to Make Customers Feel Welcome
Customers choose businesses for a number of reasons. Some like a particular product, such as Starbucks coffee. While others may prefer personal service, such as what Nordstrom offers. Chances are your customers like your business for one or more reasons and those reasons should go beyond necessity — meaning that you are the only choice in town.
Your customers will return to your business regularly if they feel welcome. An attitude of gratitude is a good start, an effective launching point for your customer service campaign.
1. Greetings, my friend! When customers come through your doors, stop what you are doing and greet them. If you know them by name, then personalize your greeting. “Good morning, Mrs. Jenson!” Ask your customers if they need your help. If yes, do so at once. If no, make yourself available as needed. Genuine displays of warmth go far so display this attribute. Teach your employees to do the same.
2. Build rapport. No customer wants to feel pressured. Instead, build a rapport with this individual by offering your assistance when asked. For example, if a customer is looking for a flatbread mix, walk with them to the place where the item can be found and point it out. You can also explain what might go well with their choice such as a bottle of extra virgin olive oil. That effort makes for subtle upselling too.
3. Find a need and meet it. Your customers do not always know what they want. You are available to guide them, by helping them make smart purchase decisions. Customers will trust you and feel welcome if you provide constructive guidance. They will even accept your upselling efforts if what you offer makes life easier on them.
4. Elicit feedback. Not every customer will rave over your business. However, some people will be very happy to tell others about their experiences with you. Encourage them to leave a review on Yelp or to post a comment to your Facebook site. By law, you are not allowed to pay for a positive review, but you can thank your customers for their feedback for a truly welcoming response.
5. Guarantee what you do. Business owners that offer money back guarantees do better than those that do not. Moreover, if you can offer a “no questions asked” guarantee, one that comes with your charm still intact, then you are presenting a welcoming environment for your customers. Be ready to take a loss on a sale if that means gaining a happy and loyal customer.
Your customers will feel welcome if you make customer service a priority. You should also avoid major restocking during the middle of the day, choosing to fill shelves before and after store hours. Customers will feel that they are intruding if they head down an aisle and find it packed with boxes.
You also cannot expect your employees to know how to make customers feel welcome unless you model this behavior. Explain to your staff how best to prioritize customers including acknowledging their presence as they wind their way through your store. An ignored customer is an unhappy customer, an individual that will eventually take her business elsewhere.
See Also — How to Run a Service-Based Business