The old saying, “it’s not personal, it’s business” comes to mind when thinking about how to effectively run your business in this, and any, economy. What we should be thinking, and how we should be approaching our customers is, “it’s personal, it’s business”. People want to feel that extra touch of personalized service, and indeed, expect to be “wooed” in order to remain a customer. Regular customers want to be remembered when they walk into your store, they want to feel they belong. Consequently, calling them by name and making them feel welcome will set their shopping experience apart from all other stores they frequent. Essentially what we are trying to achieve is to get back to the way things were done before the obsession with big box stores, profits above customers, and measuring our successes by the bottom line only.
In the early 1900’s customers were waited on by formally dressed staff members and shown individual products. They were guided through their shopping experience, and staff was trained to pick up on the small nuances of focusing on the customer’s needs.
After WW I that changed, people started waiting on themselves and taking their items to a teller for checkout. Staffing costs prevented retailers from employing enough staff to cover their store’s needs, plus cutting back staffing costs meant more money in the store owner’s pockets. This step towards customer autonomy, and less employed staff, removed the personalized service from the retail environment and it’s time to get it back!
We know why we are in business, it is to make a living, but in order to make a living it is important to remember the people that keep us in business, and those people are our customers. How can this return to customer focused service help The Small Bean do the best for its customers, increase its profits, and grow customer loyalty?
WHAT EXACTLY IS PERSONALIZED CUSTOMER SERVICE?
Personalized service is customer focused, plain and simple. It’s not about the latest flashy checkout systems or interior lighting designed to impress. It’s about a customer walking into your store, or visiting your online store, and being shown by your actions that it is all about them, what they need, how they need it, how you provide it to them, and how they feel when they are finished shopping. Therefore, using these techniques is personalized customer service. Get to know your customer, their needs, their wants, and anticipate what they will need in the future, focus on going beyond basic service, this is what it’s all about. This attention to customer focused sales will give your clientele the sense that your store is the ruler to which all other stores should be measured.
HOW DO OTHER COMPANIES PROVIDE THIS TYPE OF SERVICE AND WHAT KIND OF PROFITS CAN YOU EXPECT?
Many large retailers are realizing that the return to customer service based techniques is what will set them apart from the discount retailers. Customers are smart; they know the difference between a good...