If you have been in the retail business for many years, you have discovered the simple key to survival: customer satisfaction. A happy customer will become loyal to a retail business for a lifetime and allow you to weather through slow sales periods. However, finding the right way to please your customers is difficult, as every one of your competitors is trying to draw those same customers to visit their stores. About 55 percent of business owners in the U.S. believe that customer service is the top way to differentiate a business from competitors in an effort to retain customers, according to the Sage’s Business Index.
Utilize the following strategies to make your customers happy when they shop at your retail store.
Create a Safe and Easy Shopping Environment
Customer happiness starts the moment they walk through your door or access your retail website. Institute a friendly and helpful atmosphere geared toward welcoming them to your store and assisting them in their buying needs. At your physical store location, have your staff greet customers with a smile, ask to help locate items, and be available for further assistance without crowding or being pushy. Retail websites should be easy to navigate and provide clear descriptions of offered products. Include several online payment options to appeal to the most customers.
Both your physical store and e-commerce site should offer secure payment options to customers. With the recent data breaches at large retailers, customers are becoming more wary of where they shop and what personal information they provide. Use encryption applications to secure data and build trust as first-time customers turn into loyal ones.
Perform Surveys to Find Out What Makes Them Happy
Customer surveys allow you to learn more about the people who shop at your store and what products they like to buy. You can also learn about their shopping experience as you address problems and fine-tune present operations. There are multiple ways to perform surveys such as through email, phone, regular mail, and online survey sites. Qualtrics and SurveyMonkey are two of the biggest online survey companies providing tools and resources for business.
In addition to using surveys to find out what works and what doesn’t, you can also ask your customers to leave reviews about their experiences. Reviews and testimonials can persuade new customers to purchase and try out your products, and they’re a great way to see a more human side of your business. Check out Lifelock’s reviews, as it does a particularly good job at conducting interviews and displaying testimonials on its website. Send follow-up emails and newsletters after a customer has made a purchase to invite them to leave a review.
Provide Rewards Programs
Customers love to get extras when shopping at their favorite stores. Offer loyalty programs for people who are repeat customers to show your appreciation, and to retain customers for the long haul. The type of rewards program that you offer will be based on the type of retail business you operate. A common program involves giving people points based on the amount of money they spend during each purchase. They can then apply those points towards free items or discounts on future purchases.
Address Customer Complaints Quickly
Just because a customer complains in a survey doesn’t mean that they will no longer shop at your retail business. Give special treatment to every customer complaint. Apologize to the customer for the bad experience and offer immediate action that follows standard store policies. You can impress even the most stubborn people to turn them into happy customers. Also, keep a record of all complaints to see if there are any growing trends that you need to fix.