We’re all customers. Whether you’re a business owner or not, I know you’ve been through it. You shop at the shopping mall, eat at the restaurant, or check in at the hotel. You know how it is to be treated as a customer. I, myself, as a customer, have already experienced both bad and good things when visiting stores and offices where I go to buy the products or services I need. Unfortunately, I have more terrible experiences than good ones. A disrespectful salesperson, a timewaster manager, totally poor services, these are only some of the awful things I’ve encountered as a customer. Business establishments that have those kinds of services will not surely make you feel welcome. And when you don’t have the feeling of being welcome as a customer, you will likely wish not to return again. I know that every business owners, who are also customers, understand what I’m saying. Thus, if you want your customers to keep coming back on your doorstep, you should learn how to make your customers always feel welcome.
To make your customers feel truly welcome and appreciated, and not just for the sake of some sort of marketing or PR obligation, learn on the following ways to WELCOME your clients or customers.
W – Warm welcome
The quickest way to make your customers feel welcome is to give that warm welcome right at your doorstep. There are simple and tiny ways to do that. Unfortunately, most business owners ignore those tiny things that can actually make a big difference when it comes to attracting more loyal customers, as well as more sales and profit. Check out the following easy things you can do to welcome your customers right at your doorstep:
1. Train your receptionist, security guard, and all your staff to smile and greet their customers when they first see them.
2. Make your parking space inviting to clients.
3. Put a happy welcome sign at your doorstep.
4. Put enough chairs in your reception area for clients.
5. Provide magazines and other reading materials for clients while they are waiting.
6. Put a jar of candies in the waiting area to compliment your clients’ visit.
7. Keep away signs that can make your clients feel like outsiders. For example “silence we are working”.
8. Keep your business system organized. For example the system you are using for accepting payments at the counter or the system for making customers fall in line. A chaotic business system surely drives away customers.
E – Enthusiasm
If your customers will feel that you and your staff are happy when they visit your office, they will surely keep themselves coming back. On the other hand, if your customers will feel that their visit on your office seems to be a burden to you and your people, they will surely be hesitant to do business again with you. Therefore, all I can say is that you and your staff should learn how to enjoy how you do business with your customers. Be thankful that customers are visiting your business establishment to buy your products or services. As the boss of your company, you should teach your employees to also be grateful to their customers. One way to effectively make them grateful is to give them incentives or bonus when sales are increasing. That way, they will realize how important customers are to their job. Make them realize that the customers are the ones who are paying their salaries and bonus, and not you. You should also realize this first… as the employer.
L – Lead
Customers expect direction when they visit your place. And since it is your place, you or your personnel should act as the host that will guide your customers to the right directions. Therefore, don’t let them get lost inside your office or inside your store. Make sure that your place is visitor-friendly. If you’re running a grocery store, organize your goods by grouping and labeling them. If you’re in a service office, make sure that your clients will know whom they will approach. Put clear signs, such as the way to your different departments and the way to your comfort room. Don’t leave your customers without any idea what to do inside your premises. That’s not how to make them feel welcome, but it is instead the opposite. So be a good leader by acting as a good servant who lights up people.
C – Care
Customer care should not only be implemented by business owners to increase their sales and profit. Well, that’s not real customer care – that’s profit care. Care is something you do for others and not for yourself. This is very important to making your customers feel that they are welcome since care shows your sincerity and true feelings towards them. Real customer care involves ensuring that your customers will not only be happy when they enter your premises, but will also be happy when they leave your place. In other words, strive to build up a lasting relationship with your customers through consistently providing them quality, excellence, protection, extra services, and everything that can make their lives better.
O – Openness
Even if you’ll open your door too wide if you don’t open your mind for your customers, that won’t make them really feel welcome. That is why you need to give them truth and honesty. Remember that honesty is the best policy. It also makes customer relationship closer and stronger. Therefore, don’t ever try to fool them and lie for the sake of gaining more financial profit. So make your price tags clear and keep your terms and conditions apparent.
M – Meeting of minds
Misunderstanding breaks relationships, and it can also happen to your relationship with customers. That is why you should ensure that they are not only the ones who understand you, but you also understand them. So put the right people who fully understand their jobs. Don’t assign a salesperson who doesn’t know what he or she is selling to customers. That will only result to chaos. Who wants to buy something from someone who doesn’t know what he or she is selling?
To ensure that your customers and your personnel understand with each other, you should start the understanding between you and your personnel. In other words, train and coach your staff to let them become fully oriented and knowledgeable about their jobs, responsibilities, and about your whole company. Meeting of minds should begin within your organization.
E – Execute
Accomplishment, this is the reason why your customers visit your place. They want satisfaction and fulfillment. The last piece of truly welcoming your customers is to try your best to give them what they have come for. Thus, it’s important that you always have the available merchandise in your stock or the available account officer to accommodate your clients’ needs. Business owners should walk the talk. If they cannot walk the talk, they better not talk. And if they have talked, but can’t walk the talk, they should honestly tell it to their customers and give them security.
To make your customers feel welcome, you should not only welcome them inside your premises, but also welcome them inside your heart and mind. It may sounds cheesy, but it is how it works. If your clients don’t feel welcome, then perhaps you don’t have a heart for them. Furthermore, you should also ensure that all your personnel will also have the heart for your customers. There are many simple and small ways to make your customers welcome as we have discussed above. All you need to do is to pay time, attention and respect to them.
Image by Nutmeg Designs at Flickr