12 ways to maximize customers

By Rick Segel Channel, customer service, var

Ask a few of your loyal customers if they would be willing to meet with you about four times a year so that you can pick their brains about your store. At meetings, ask what they think about your merchandise, your employees, the way you do business, etc. Remember, those on your advisory board should not have lifetime appointments. You’ll want to switch them in and out every year or so to ensure you are getting the freshest perspectives possible.

  • Seek out and cultivate lagniappe moments. In tough times businesses have to be willing to give lagniappe—that’s New Orleans-speak for “a little extra.” While this concept is interpreted in various ways, it means that in addition to great deals, coupons, and the like, you also give of yourself. And that is the heart and soul of customer maximization.

You focus on what you can do to genuinely improve your customer’s day rather than on what your customer can do for you. You build a relationship with him. Whether that means you take the extra time to really explain a product to someone or give him a gift card as thanks for referring a customer, you’ll be building a relationship that turns into customer loyalty.

Today’s consumer is in the hunt for the best buy of the day. And we as retailers are in the hunt to convert the hunters into the hunted—in a nice way, of course. That process starts with maximizing the customer.

I love the saying that retailing is a contact sport. You have to get in front of your customers. We are living in the era of proactive retailing. We can’t wait for customers to just walk through the front door anymore. You have to interact with them and get them to open up to you so that you can find out what their what is. Naturally, that’s never an easy process. But going the extra mile, every day and in every way, can keep them spending more and coming back. And that’s the best recession survival strategy you’ll ever find.

About the Book:

Retail Business Kit For Dummies®, 2nd Edition (Wiley, September 2008, ISBN: 978-0-470-29330-0, $34.99) is available at bookstores nationwide and from all major online booksellers. For more information, please visit www.RickSegel.com.

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