Articles for Retailers - by Tom Shay




Keeping a Customer is as Simple as That!


It was a simple cross country drive. While enjoying some music, the car’s phone system rang with a number we did not recognize. However, when we did answer we immediately recognized the voice.
 
“Hello. This is Reno and I just wanted to check on the two of you”.
 
We reported all was fine and we were enjoying the drive. We reminded Reno that when we returned we wanted to take him to dinner. After the call, we discussed how nice it was that Reno would call and check on us. We have known him for twenty years and when not calling him by name we call him, “our mechanic”.
 
Perhaps you have not considered a mechanic to be an “artist”; not all artists work with the materials sold by businesses within our trade. While we believe Reno makes calls like this out of concern and interest in each of his customers, we know this technique is a great way to get repeat and referral customers.
 
The automotive trade can put a sticker on the inside of your windshield to remind you of when to change the oil. Some businesses have software that automatically sends emails to customers at pre-determined times or alerts the business when the customer has not spent money after a specific time.
 
Nothing beats the human interaction of a business to a customer. While Reno does this himself, your business could use someone other than yourself to initiate this “touch” with your customers. Consider having the people who have interaction with your employees spend a part of their day contacting customers and asking about the customer’s latest project and their experiences. There is no interest in the customer coming from an online business; only another email wanting to sell more products to the customer and most frequently with a discounted price.
 
Using someone who does not interact initially with customers would require this person being sincere and knowledgeable about the customer and their preferences of what they buy from you. Having a person making cold calls without knowing the customer and their interests is a waste of your time and money as well as insulting to the customer.
 
Perhaps you look at this idea as being an expense your business cannot afford; your employee cost would be out of line. Instead, look at this as something that would replace a part of your advertising budget. Multiple research projects report people place a higher confidence in the recommendation of a friend over any form of advertising and even over that of a spouse or partner.
 
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, was quoted as saying, “We can never replace the experience you will have by walking into a bookstore, interacting with an individual, smelling the book and feeling the paper in your fingers”.
 
Wise advice from the person who sells more books than anyone in the world.
 
The human interaction is key to your success.



 

Tom Shay is a fourth generation small business owner, author, columnist, coach and speaker who has authored several training manuals for retailers that can be found in the Resources section of the NAMTA website – namta.org. His knowledge of small business marketing, business strategy, staffing, and financial management have provided small business owners with the help necessary to increase their profits plus build their business for the future. You can learn more here - www.profitsplus.org