Loyalty is built one customer at a time through positive and memorable customer experiences. "Customer experience" may be the industry's latest catchphrase, but it does speak to a critical differentiator in consumers' minds. It comes through engagement between employee and customer. It is a personal experience, and while technology can augment the experience, in the end it's the human interaction that's most significant and memorable.
To be loyal or not, that is the question. How can we encourage repeat business in a climate of great competitors and new outlets?
Up the experience from the minute a customer pulls into your parking lot. Wouldn't you like to know what are they thinking? Are they thinking, “Oh, I like to shop here because the great deals?” Or are they thinking, “I would rather not shop here because it’s too hard to shop, but I need an oil filter, and your store is close.” You may never know the reasons someone will or won't shop your store, but you should always be thinking about what that customer is thinking.
Loyalty is earned during each visit and each transaction, and as I have stated many times before, you are being judged. You can create greater loyalty by making it easy and fun to shop your store. Believe it or not, people are willing to pay more for products if the result is an easy, positive experience.
Here is my short list of how can you simplify your customers’ lives:
• Clean and de-clutter your parking lot.
• Create a main entrance that’s easy to find. (Don't chuckle; I have been to stores that you don't know where you’re supposed to enter or park.)
• Make sure you greet but don't stalk customers.
• Require parts and accessories staff to MAKE EYE CONTACT with and acknowledge the customer. Even if you’re busy with another customer, it takes a second to let the next customer know that you’re aware they want help.
• Ask the right questions, and don't make the customer feel stupid for not knowing something.
• Have basic inventory on hand always, including some helmets and jackets. (If a customer wanted to order something, they would have already.)
• Don’t discount to satisfy a customer. Think about this, if your customer service is bad, customers don't care what the price is; they are not likely to come back.