Some customers are easier to deal with than others. They are all, however, a gift to a business since they pay the bills. Make a customer happy, and she will sing your praises to her friends and return again and again.
Some customers come specifically to buy, and others need some encouragement. It’s easy to sell to a customer who walks into a store, since you can engage them at the moment, charm them with your products and excellent customer service. Online customers can be a bit trickier, since they can click in and out without a chance to engage them and close a sale.
An article in Geekless Tech had a lot to say about how to activate the passive customer. Whether you’re dealing with a customer in person or online, there are ways to engage and encourage the customer to stay awhile and buy.
WIIFM? Websites say a lot about a company. They list all the companies products, services, mission, vision, and have a list of owners or partners, complete with stunning bios. They have testimonials on how great the products and services are. They sing the praise of the company, but what do they say about the customers. Customers really don’t care about all that. It’s nice to buy from a company that seems reputable and has some positive reviews. But customers mostly want to know how they figure into the equation, and how important they are to the company. Customers like a bargain. They like some free stuff thrown in with the purchase. Look at the success stores like Publix has with BOGOs – Buy One Get One Free. Customers would probably buy one cake mix, but buy one and get another one for free??? What a deal! Customers want to know the company is thinking about them.
Prime the Pump. Did you ever notice clerks in a checkout line wearing a name badge with a lot of pins and ribbons on it? Or go to a checkout counter and see thank you notes or testimonials from happy customers? Or a poster showing an “employee of the month” smiling down from a prominent wall or pictures of employees participating in some community event, representing the company? These are all designed to reward and engage the employees, but it also sends a message to customers. “Our employees love to work here. They are successful and are rewarded. We care about our employees.” It also says the company is a good neighbor and cares about the community. It’s a subtle way of engaging customers, making them feel good about spending their money.
Another is scarcity. Have you ever walked into a store and saw a notice for a sale that wasn’t advertised? Wal-Mart is famous for their blue-light specials—random price reductions in the store marked by a rolling stand with a flashing blue light on the top. Great bargains, but they don’t last forever. The announcement is usually followed by a stampede of customers, running to get the big deal before it runs out. Letting a customer know about sales or limited price reductions at checkout, or while they are shopping lets the customers know you really care about them. It can turn the most reluctant shopper into an instant buyer.
Turning passive customers into active buyers is a challenge and can make customer service more rewarding, for you, the company and the customer.
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