When you own a small business, you need every advantage you can get as Dave Simpson from Azzurro Blu explains. You are constantly competing with the “big boys”, the monster corporations that can bury you in piles of cash if they want.One of the only advantages that you have over those big boys is your ability to interact with your customers on a more personal level.
Here are some tips for taking advantage of that advantage:
1. Learn Your Customers Names
If you have a walk-in store, get to know your regular customers. Hopefully, you have some loyal patrons that regularly come in to buy your products. You may even have some people who come in simple to pass the time (which doesn’t really help you any – but that’s a different topic).Anyway, you should learn your regular customers’ names. Everyone likes to be recognized, and recognizing your customers will make them feel comfortable and valued. When a regular walks in, greet him warmly – by name. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be a regular. Try to learn every customer’s name, and use it. You might just create a new regular customer.You can incorporate this into your advertising, as well. Design a color printing project that relates to your customers on a personal basis. For example, print up postcards with space for you to write in the name. Then send them out to all of your customers (with names included).
2. Be Respectful
This might sound contradictory, but try to be polite when you use a customer’s name. Start with a simple, “Hello, Mr. Smith” before you start calling him Bob. While most people would not have a problem with you using their first name, it is better to be safe than sorry. Use their names politely until they tell you it is fine to be on a first name basis. The extra caution and respect you are showing can also help make the customer value you more.
3. Be Warm and Friendly
Not all customers will want to carry on a conversation with you while they shop, but you can still be extremely nice to them when they come in. Greet them warmly and let them know you are happy to see them. Even if you are having a bad day, cover it up and make the customer feel welcome. You should never, ever let a customer see you in a bad mood.
4. Never Jump to Conclusions
Try to treat every customer the same. Even if a certain customer gives you a bad feeling, or you know – and dislike – a customer, don’t show it. In fact, if a customer confronts you and treats you badly, you still should restrain yourself. Remember the old cliché, “Kill them with kindness.” Never let a customer get under your skin. And never treat a customer with less than utmost respect.