THE SHOP

Performance & Hotrod Business - July '15

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July 2015 n Performance & Hotrod Business n 81 received from customers. Identify what is unique or special to your company. What separates you from your competition? Why do customers come to you instead of going elsewhere? Do you offer greater product knowledge? Installation advice? Product recommen- dations? Or, is it the friendly manner in which you handle customers? Listen to Your Customers What do your customers want that you can provide? How can you better- serve your existing customers and attract new business by filling a void? There are several ways to garner this information. One is to simply ask regulars, jot down their responses and compile the answers. Another is to conduct a more formal sur- vey, (see VIP Customer Card above). Decide on Changes Are there problems? Check out what is lacking in your interaction with folks that shop at your business. Use your Business Profile and customer input as the blueprint to develop a service business plan. Outline what changes you might make and what you plan to offer or add. It may be that your business is running fine and just needs a minor tune-up; or maybe you have to give some serious thought to reorganization. Customer Service Program Get to know your regulars. Regular cus- tomers are the backbone of your business. You may have a great memory for faces and details, and know what they are driv- ing, but if you want to really be organized and expand your base, I suggest a system- atic structure of gathering and accessing information. You can start out with a simple VIP Customer Card. You can call it a survey. Most shoppers will be flattered to fill out a VIP card and appreciate that you are ask- ing them for their input. As an incentive, you could offer a freebie, a discount or a drawing. Compile this customer info into a Database Management Software program. Now you can sort and access customer files, and also add fields for sales activity. You will be able to use this information in marketing. Train Your Employees Set an example for your staff. Your staff will follow your lead. Be friendly and help- ful to all customers, and your staff will fol- low. Lead by example, so that when you are not present, your customers will still receive the same five-star service they have come to expect. Give Personal Attention Let your employees know that you are always available if a customer has a ques- tion or a problem that they cannot address. Address Problems Immediately Inevitably you will encounter customer complaints. Personally handle every prob- lem. It is always better to offer service rather than money. By offering an extra service you are giving up time instead of cash. Make Every Customer Feel Special Finally, let your customers know you appreciate and value them. Ask them ques- tions about their interests. Show an inter- est. Invite them back. Make your Customer Service Plan and get your employees on-board to implement it. The superior personalized service that you offer will generate goodwill and will be perpetuated by word of mouth, which we all know is the best form of advertising. Creating a VIP Customer Card is a way to make your regulars feel special, even while you use their input to improve your business.

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