What keeps customers coming back….

What keeps customers coming back?

what keeps customers


In the 80’s many people watched a top-rated sitcom called Cheers, many of you may remember it. The show started with a theme song that went like this: “Where everybody knows your name, And they’re always glad you came….,You wanna be where you can see, The troubles are all the same. You wanna be where everybody knows your name.”

And What Keeps Customers Coming Back?


So, the question is, do you know their names? And What Keeps Customers Coming Back?

I am talking about your customers. Is your store Customer centric? Customer centric is a way of doing business with your customer in a way that provides a positive customer experience before and after the sale in order to drive repeat business, customer loyalty and profits. That is only the surface of the iceberg. In addition it can help you get more customers, solve possible theft issues, focusing your staff and much more.

Customer centric is the key to rising above the box stores, the online stores, the supermarkets and the like. It is more than just a strategy. It should be a way of life that drives your company. Your customer should be king because without him/her you have nothing. Your livelihood depends on the customer.



The Right Equipment
And What Keeps Customers Coming Back?

You will need the right tools to accomplish this unless you and your staff have photographic memories. The proper POS system will give you the management tools to make it all happen. We recommend the Darts POS management system by Comp-Ware systems www.comp-ware.net.

First, your staff should know the name of not only your customer but his/her pet’s name. The ability to see on a POS screen the name of the pet and maybe breed (if needed) is a great way to ask a customer “How is Toby doing?”. Customers like to talk about their pets and you remembering the pet’s name (with a little help) is major brownie points.



Conversation Starter
And What Keeps Customers Coming Back?

It also gives you the opportunity to strike up a more detailed conversation and recommend new products for that pet. Walk them around and show them the products and don’t stop until they say ‘Uncle’. We had one sales team member who could turn a ‘just looking’ customer into a $250 sale. She knew to ask questions and let the customer do the talking about their pet. Everything they say is a clue to what you need to show them.

Special service needs should also stand out on the POS system such as ‘carry out’. We had a customer that was an elderly gentleman with back issues and we had young girls working the counter. The customer normally purchased a large bag of dog food. The last thing he wanted to tell the girls was he had a bad back (that was the macho factor kicking in). So we had a pop-up that stood out telling the sales team member to always carry out so they knew to ring up the sale, pick up the bag, and ask the man where his car was. It brought a smile to his face as he knew we cared and he did not feel ashamed. Win-Win situation.



Give Them Reasons To Come Back!
And What Keeps Customers Coming Back?

Other ideas include a pet club. Get detailed information on a card instead of just handing them some membership card. The card should include birth date, pet’s birth date, type of pet food they like, how many and types of pets they have, email (with an opt-in clause to email them), cell phone for texts, and anything else you can think of for marketing purposes. The more, useful, information the better. Be sure to offer something in return for this information such as a frequent shopper club to get rewards after so many purchases. Make sure the receipts they get reflect those rewards and how close they are getting to them. Do not just hand them the membership card, mail it! Include a letter thanking them and a coupon good for their next purchase. Give them reasons to come back!

Follow up with them by email (or snail mail) with birthday club offers for the pet and for the customer’s birthday. Get a list of the top customers and make a personal thank you call (from the owner of the store) to your ‘favorite customers’.



Invite Them Back
And What Keeps Customers Coming Back?

Do the same for customers not in for awhile. A ‘we miss you’ call can make all the difference in the world. I remember one time I made that type of call and found out the customer was quite upset. The person who took care of them did a few things that caused them to say they would never set foot in the store again. If not for the call I would never have known and that is the kiss of death to a store. It is not what you know, but what you don’t know that will hurt you. Be sure to turn it around, apologize (no matter who was wrong as the customer IS always right even when they may be wrong). Be sure to tell them you not only will personally handle it but invite them back and have them ask for you specifically.

Another good use for the phone is on returns. Call a customer who returned an item and find out what was wrong. Make sure they were satisfied with the return process and they needs were met or exceeded their expectations. This, buy the way, is also a good way to uncover employee theft. I know a store owner had one clerk who did returns and pocketed the money after the customer left. A good POS system should catch that though.



Special Events for Special Customers
And What Keeps Customers Coming Back?

Special events, for those special customers, is another avenue for more sales. In our store every 6 months we ran a report of items that have been sitting way too long. Understand there are short term methods of dealing with those items but that will be covered in another article. Those are the items we featured in our Midnight Madness sale (done on the weekend from midnight to 3am or 9pm to midnight as an example). We would close our doors early, then cover up the windows with newspaper, putting a sign on the door that said Midnight Madness Sale, Super savings, 9pm to Midnight today only, and added members ONLY.

Of course, you would have membership applications at the door for those who just came by and wanted to get in. Advertise this way in advance! The sale consisted of all the hard to sell items, many specials we got from the manufacturers as freebies or heavily discounted, and other items. Great way to keep customers happy, and get rid of excess inventory.

Bottom line is, the customer has to be king, and as a customer centric store you will get the king coming back, bringing his friends in, and posting great reviews on facebook and other social media.



Also Read: Reinventing Retail



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