for increasing customer loyalty
used to be a series of public-service announcements directed at
children and youth. The central theme of these announcements was
"Just say no."
we don't know the results of these announcements, we do know it works too often in retail. A customer calls or comes into
a store and asks for a particular product, part, or service. There
is the positive answer of, "Yes, we can," or "Yes,
we have it." Independent stores, as well as chain and warehouse
stores, all use this answer.
there is the opposite response of "no," which can be heard
in the chain or warehouse store. However, it is not what is heard
in the store that knows how to take care of its customers. This
is not a column that makes a stand for you to expand your business
to provide every service imaginable, or to stock every possible
brand and type of product. It is, however, an argument for the opportunity
to provide extreme customer service and wrap up a tremendous share
of customers' business within your community.
as an example, the retailer who has posters displayed near the time
clock, in the office, and in the back room of his business that
proclaim "No is not an option." To back up this statement,
the dealer has done several things.
first is to educate his staff that the answer to the question about
a product is always, "Yes, we have it," "Why have
you chosen that particular product?" or "How soon do you
the first answer, he simply makes the sale. With the question of
why, the customer usually explains his preference for that product.
There is an effort by the team member to equate the quality of the
product they stock with the product the customer has requested.
Without letting the customer walk away, the team member will move
to the question of "when." The second thing the retailer
has done is to have a charge account with most of his competitors.
When the situation calls for the "when" question to be
asked, the retailer will send someone to the competition to purchase
the product and return with it to his store. He then removes the
price sticker of the competitor and charges his customer the same
price as the competitor.
did take a while for customers to find out why he always had what
they needed, but it quickly became their best promotion to be able
to tell customers they would not let them down. The retailer was
as close to being a "one-stop business" as there could
be. Building on this reputation, the store began a second promotion,
which they called "drop and drive." Their pool-chemical
supplier had provided them with a software program that not only
provided analysis, but also would track the purchases and service
calls of customers.
the drop-and-drive promotion, the customer, on his way to work,
writes his account number on the side of the water bottle the dealer
provides and drops the bottle at the dealer, who even has a drop
slot much like the video stores.
the slack time of the day, each sample bottle is fully analyzed.
The empty bottle, detailed instructions, two copies of a list of
products, and the appropriate chemicals are put into a tray for
the customer to pick up at the end of the day.
account number made it appear to the customer that the service was
simply easy to use. It was, however, the dealer's way of making
sure the customers who used the service were buying chemicals from
him and not taking the information to a competitor. While the team
members were always ready to answer questions when the customer
came in to pick up his results, the idea of the duplicate form was
a way of confirming the customer had bought the suggested products.
Of course, as any dealer would expect, there was the occasional
customer who had to be told this service was free as long as products
were purchased from him. Without a purchase, the water analysis
and report were $10.
of this latter group of customers got the message, with a few refusing
to pay and deciding to shop elsewhere. This was okay with the dealer,
since this was obviously not his customer anyway. There is an old
adage: "A dog with a full food bowl does not go looking at
other food bowls." The customer who is able to get all of his
products and services with one call or one stop is not likely to
go looking at the competition.
dogs are noted for being extremely loyal, people can and will be
the same way. Your chances of finding this type of customer increases
tremendously if you know there is no NO!