Who is first among the equals in your retail store? This is something fellow retailer Daniel Gordon and I were discussing long ago, and I think it’s a valuable topic for business outside of retail, as well.
Do you make a point of treating every single customer equally? Do you make decisions about them, based on how they look when they walk in?
|Do you treat everyone in your store|
like visiting friends?
Are you the place where the exclusive folks shop? Do you evaluate customers based on what you know about their family?
Or are you the one who spends as much time and effort to make the $200 customer feel just as important as the $20,000 customer?
No easy answers, and each business has to decide for themselves. A few friends weighed in on this online discussion.
Jon Swanson said:
I really try to make it be balanced. The challenge at times is that the $200 customer takes more attention than the 20,000. I’m good with that. It’s the point for us, after all, but it has to be a persistent, consistent remembering to look at each person as a person.
Glenda Watson Hyatt said:
From the customer’s perspective, I can definitely say not all retailers treat me equally. I tend to avoid those who do not. My money works just as well down the street.
Glenda uses a scooter to get around and an iPad to speak for her sometimes. And sometimes, retailers treat her poorly based on what they see.
Steven Streight said a lot:
Since each customer is extremely important, and a person in a store is generally close to a buying decision, far closer than your average potential buyer on a list, you simply must treat each customer As If They Were Your ONLY Customer.
You do that and you’ll be providing astonishing, viral buzzy customer service.
Stop hanging out with fellow business associates in pity parties and get down and “dirty” with the folks who put money in your pocket.
Customer service is probably the #1 vulnerability of all your competitors, the bigger they are, the more they may suck at it.
Charge forward, smiling, advising, both in the store and on social media. Provide expertise, product model guidance, differentiation from competitors, strong reasons why customers should be loyal to you.
Always keep in the forefront of your consciousness how lousy you have been treated in some stores and places of business. Recall the insults, mediocrity, incompetence, uncaring attitudes. Burn them in your brain, without anger, but with zeal to do the opposite.
Listen to your fans. Pay attention to the needs, complaints, hatreds, fondnesses, questions, praise, and problems your customers express online and in person.
Take their input very very very seriously. Let their attitudes dethrone your pet perceptions. Identify with them and meet them genuinely in their valley of need.
How do you feel about this?
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.