If you think about the stores you frequent, you probably have a good feeling about those businesses. You feel welcome. The same rule applies to your place of business. If customers feel welcome, they will stay longer and come back to see you more often. You might not need new customers to increase sales. You can sell more to the customers you have by using techniques to make them feel at home.
The No. 1 thing you can do to make customers feel welcome is to smile. You might be stressed or even upset, but if you can find a way to smile when customers come in, you will see sales rise. One way to smile even when you don't think about it is to think about a pleasant experience you have had.
People can hear a smile on the phone. A smile shows up in your voice and puts you in the mood to be helpful. Try a smile as part of your phone etiquette, and you might find customers respond positively.
Welcoming should start before you ever see the customer. She says you should keep your parking lot clean and make your storefront neat. Customers will be more likely to feel welcome if the appearance of your store is free of clutter.
Give your employees a place to take a break away from the front of your store. Customers can resent winding their way through clouds of smoke and loitering employees just to enter your store. In addition, employees might chat about store issues you don't want your customers to overhear.
If you don't have a brick-and-mortar store, but instead own a web-based business, you can still make customers feel welcome when they come to your website. When visitors sign up at your site by leaving their email addresses, send a welcome email. Thank them for coming to your web page and explain what services or products you offer. Then invite them to come back to see you.
Whether you have occasion to address customers in person, on the phone or through email, address them by name. People respond well to being called by name. If you are unsure of whether using a first name is too informal, ask the customer what she prefers.
Make sure you pay attention when a customer speaks to you. If you are distracted, you might have to ask the customer to repeat what he said, and customers can find this annoying. Don't create the distraction yourself by talking to or disciplining employees while the customer is addressing you. When you listen, you learn a lot about the customer's needs.
Find something special about each customer to comment on or remember. This one might like to wear red; that one might have a grandchild at home. If you just met the customer, you can still establish a rapport by paying attention to the customer's concerns, issues and tastes, and responding to them. If a customer emails you, write back and mention the previous email so that the customer knows you are not sending out a generic email response.
Thank each and every customer at the end of a transaction or communication. Let them know you value their business and that you want to see them again. They will be more likely to return, assured that their business is appreciated.
Make an effort to communicate with your customers even when they are not buying from you. After they have left your store or your website, send them messages explaining your new products or simply wishing them a good day. You can do this through emails or postcards. Your thoughtfulness will let customers know they are welcome.