The most important thing in business is customers. It doesn’t matter how amazing your product or service may be, if you don’t have customers you don’t have business. But how do you make sure that your customers are loyal and don’t turn to your competitors for business?
1. Each and every customer is special and unique. It doesn’t matter whether you assist 10 customers with the exact same product or service, treat each and every one as you did your first. Show care and understanding and give them the best service you know how. This will make them feel like their business is appreciated and wanted and that their needs will be taken care of by your business.
2. Always have stock on hand, especially during your business’s busy season. We’ve all experienced the “joys” of getting advertisements in the newspaper, seeing a great price or deal at a store nearby, only to go there, often on the first day of the sale, only to be told, “Sorry, we’re all sold out.” This is unprofessional and inexcusable. If you know that you’re having a sale, make sure that you have enough for your customers and more. You don’t want your competition to get the scoop on you by having more stock than you.
3. Do what you say, when you say, how you say. If you want your customers to keep coming back for business, you need them to believe in you and your business. And the only way to get this right is to give them what they ask for, when they ask for it, and exactly how they want it. This will prove that you’re a businessman or woman of your word and that you will always be there to assist when they need a product or service.
4. Hiring the right staff is as important as having the right product or service. There are two types of people who go shopping: those who know what they’re looking for and don’t need assistance, and those who aren’t exactly sure what they’re after and will need assistance. Who will help them? Your staff. Make sure that you hire the best people for the job because they will become the face of the business. They need to be courteous, professional, presentable and have people skills if they’re going to form a bond with your customers and sell to them.
5. Be the boss that everyone knows, not the boss “in a meeting” or “in the back somewhere”. It’s important that as the boss you have a presence that customers will be able to experience and interact with. Learn your returning customers’ names, be hands on and show your customers that no request or question is below you and that you appreciate their business.
Building brand loyalty is key to any business’s survival. The key to bringing people back is to show them respect and meet their needs. And it’s not difficult to do this. In fact, it’s the smaller things that matter most and bring people back time and time again to spend money with you.
By Craig Falck for Africa Report