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Make A Lasting Impression


Businesses are today having to spend more and more money on advertising to get the attention of customers. Indeed there are many experienced businessmen who would tell you that customer loyalty is not what it used to be and that keeping customers for life is now a real challenge. This of course is due to the many choices now available to customers as well as the fact that customers have become more price and quality conscious.

Most importantly, customers are now more than ever service conscious! The advent of globalization and the introduction of the international retail giants into the country have seriously affected the perception of customers about quality service to the extent that customers are willing to pay extra if the service is right. This point has not gotten home to many of our local businesses and their employees, who continue to behave in a business as usual fashion.

The age of protectionism is quickly coming to an end. Businesses and their employees are now expected to make a paradigm shift with respect to how they view and treat customers. Unfortunately, this is not occurring with the speed that’s desirable and many locally developed businesses have begun to suffer from customer disaffection. It is no good complaining about the Super Pharms, the TGIF, the Subways, the Price Smarts etc if you are not prepared to match and exceed the service they offer and to which customers are willing to gravitate.

Having invested in advertising that attracts the customer to your place of business, it is important that your people are ready not only to make the sale, but also to convert the customer to a customer for life. How do you achieve this? The hardest part of the work was to get the customer into the store; the easiest part is to convert the customer. You must take control when the customer is before you.

The customer wants the product you have offered, but the customer is more likely to remember the experience you create in making the product available, as well as in the after sales and service experience. Yes, the customer’s experience is created by you, not by the customer. The customer merely responds to your behaviours.

Businesses can begin to create this experience that translates into lifetime customers by advertising the names of their customer service representatives along with the products such that the customer can have a name to ask for on arrival or by calling before. In this way, the service is personalized and the customer feels being taken care of. By allocating identifiable CSR’s to products, the business also creates in house experts who are then able to give the customer detailed advice about the product.

Creating a CSR as a product expert and providing the support training actually improves the motivation and self esteem of the salesperson. The person feels valuable. By having trained CSR’s, including training in the use of the computers to check for stock availability, customers may even save time by pre ordering and merely having to come in to pay and pick up.

There are two things that customers want when they do business with you. They want knowledgeable sales representatives and they don’t want to be kept waiting. They want to save time. The knowledge that your CSR’s have as well as the time they save customers are part of the experience you create. The experience also has to do with the overall friendliness of the in store environment and the accessibility of your people and the products, as much as it has to do with physical comfort for the customer by way of water coolers or soft drink dispensers, chairs to sit, baskets and carts for shopping etc.

Look around your business place today. See whether your customers are expressing frustration or satisfaction. Ask them what you might do to enhance their experience. Remember you have already invested in bringing them to the place of business. Now you must turn them into customers for life.

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