Ultimate customer appreciation

When I was a retailer, in the numerous stores I operated, I never had a customer appreciation day.

My staff and I lived with the awareness and philosophy that customer appreciation day was every day.

My perspective on prosperous retailing was quite simple. Attract and hire those individuals that shine with positive energy, individualism and passion. Coach and mentor these individuals to the culture of our brand and our philosophies.

Being an independent retailer was a wonderful thing. It allowed me to UN-learn many of the bad habits and rules larger corporations had locked in place regarding customer service. One of the main philosophies I’d share with my team would be the importance of appreciating our customers in every way, every day. I knew that if we serviced our client base in a positive, un-corporate way, we would develop extreme customer loyalty in good times and bad.

We did just that. By giving my teams the power to make decisions independently and right any wrongs without lengthy protocol and management intervention, we streamlined processes that not only served the customer’s needs in a better way, but created raving fans all along the way. We put customers first, they were never looked at as an expense to me. I looked at them as the reason we were able to be in businesses we loved.

I’ll now share with you a few of the principles I believe in when it comes giving your customers what they deserve on a daily basis.

 

Staffing – Ask yourself, are you hiring partners or filling positions? Are the people you’re hiring people those that you want to become a part of the story of your business? Make sure you’re putting the right staff in front of your customers.

Values – Your customers are valuable. Your decisions reveal who you are and what you value. It’s not hard for you and your team to make decisions when you know what your values are.

Invest – Do you believe customers are an asset or a cost center? Invest in allowing your staff to do the right thing for your customers. Trust me, your investment will be paid back in more ways than one.

Take a Walk – You and your staff must take a walk in your customer’s shoes. Can you describe a day in the life of your customer? You need to understand their life to serve their life.

Confess – When something goes wrong, confess. If you are upfront and let all customers know when something goes wrong, you prepare everyone for a better experience. Decide to say sorry.

Nice to see you – You have to ask yourself if your customers are looking forward to seeing you. Are your operating decisions based on executing tasks or delivering experiences that complement your customer’s day?

Thanks for the memories – Do you and your staff deliver a closing memory? What’s the last thing you want your customers to remember about you after they say good-bye? Deliver a positive closing memory.

 

That’s just a brief sample of the many ways you can keep your customers loving what you do and wanting more.

Live in appreciation daily!