Daniel C. Felsted
It all comes down to this—how do you engage your customers? The impression you make on your customers is lasting. It is much harder to change the customer’s mind once they have formed an opinion. The way you look, the way you talk, and the way your shop looks all play a major role in the perceived value of the products you offer. Your communications impact how customers think about your business.
When you go to Nordstrom, you see clean-cut professional employees, and you instantly understand the image they are putting forth. When you board Southwest Airlines you recognize understand that this airline is relaxed and aims to provide an enjoyable experience. What is the impression you get when you enter an establishment and many of the employees are wearing beanies on their heads, listening to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath? Much to my amazement, this was the scene as I entered a popular pizza store. I might expect this milieu in the skate shop, but a national pizza chain? Never. Perhaps their clientele identifies with this setting and, accordingly, it’s a perfect fit—I hope so. My point is that care must be taken to present your business in a light that your customers will identify with.
Strategy: Improve Your Image
Take a look at how your business presents itself. Look at each contact point that your customers access. Look for inconsistencies. You want to tell the same story each time you make contact with your customers. Your image should be positive, but no matter what it must leave your customers wanting more.
Examples of Where the Customer Views Your Image
Interior Signage: Do you have professionally designed and printed materials, or do you have unprofessional handwritten materials that scream, “I’m too cheap to care about doing it right!”
Dress Code: Do you look like the professionals that you are, or are you presenting a less than acceptable look?
Advertisements: Do you use professionals, trained to bring in the most qualified customers, or do you use a niece because she is cheaper?
Your Place of Business: Do you make sure your business is extra clean and tidy at all times? Do you go to efforts to lay out your business, making it easy to move around and access items? Or do you just go with the flow?
Customer Service: Do you invest in the training of your employees, so they have the knowledge to help your customers make educated decisions? Or do you rely on the training they have received, if any, from a previous employer?
Great customer service makes customers loyal. Loyal customers make your business more profitable. Studies have shown that customer service oriented companies outperform their competitors (who are not customer service focused), two to one. Any marketing dollars invested in making a favorable impression on your customer is money well spent.
One of my favorite quotes is, “A job well done is a job never really done,” and such is the case with customer service. Your customers are looking for a relationship. Customers want someone they can identify with, feel comfortable doing business with, someone who understands their problems and present a solution to their needs. How you present yourself directly impacts how your customers perceive your business.
For tips on how to get your customers to feel more at ease while at your business, read the how-to guide: How to Get Your Customers to Pay More and Do it Happily!