Where Will The Customer Shop?

Your best friend is in an emergency situation and needs help!

A stranger is in the same emergency situation and needs help!

You are willing and able to help, but you can only help one of them. It’s not life or death so the decision is not critical.

Who are you going to help?

“Make friends with your customers”!  

Most Customer Loyalty Programs Are Bogus!

Most customer loyalty programs out there are more a waste of time and money than they are an affective way to create “customer loyalty”.

I’m just a regular guy and I  am signed up for a number of these programs. I let them sign me up so I don’t have to hear the pitch if I return to the store. Am I loyal to those businesses? Not really. The programs are too complicated and they don’t really give me enough to retain my loyalty. If I see it that way, how many others out there think the same way. My guess is A LOT!

It’s hardly worth my effort to pull my wallet out to get at the card they issue to me. A $5.00 coupon or an extra 10% discount after spending “x” dollars, or 25 billion miles flown to get a ticket with 25 billion restrictions, isn’t going to make me loyal… period! It’s just a nuisance to me. And there is the operative word. Nuisance! If that is what you create for me, how does your customer loyalty program really measure up on the “customer service scale”?

So, how should a customer loyalty program work that is simple and fair to every customer and creates customers that really return to do business with you?

  1. Every single customer gets exactly the same deal.
  2. Membership is FREE.
  3. The customer gets FREE merchandise or service when they meet the criteria.
  4. Absolutely no hoops to jump through to cash in.
  5. Customer belongs to the program forever…..no time limit.
  6. Customer can transfer their membership to someone else.
  7. If you end the program, you offer every member a prorated credit for the purchases they made.
  8. Customer gets credit based on the number of purchases made and their value;  not based on dollars spent.

How do I know if the above will really create loyal customers? We did it in our business for over 30 years and it worked perfectly. I’ve never seen or been offered a customer loyalty program that even approaches the simplicity, fairness, and effectiveness of the one we implemented in our stores based on the above principles.

In my next post, I’ll explain in more detail WHY the above principles are the only way to implement an effective customer loyalty policy based on purchases.

I Don’t Want Customer Loyalty Cards And Extra Discounts!

Customer loyalty cards and giving “extra” discounts are not authentic customer appreciation.

These things are marketing tactics to induce me to shop at your store or website. Don’t get me wrong.  They are ok marketing tactics but that’s all they are. I take them for what they are worth but I don’t take them as “appreciation”.

If you want to express real appreciation to me, appreciation that I believe is sincere, you’ll  have to do it face-to-face and right at the point of sale.

Give me a “free” pen!

Give me a “free” calendar!

Give me a “free” notepad!

Don’t give me another pitch!

Better yet, give me a thank-you for shopping at your store and tell me to contact you if I have any problems with the merchandise or service I purchased. Tell me you’ll be there to help me. Tell me that is what you are there to do. Give me the assurance that you really want me to be satisfied doing business with you.

Say these things to me and follow through and I will be loyal. It’s a whole lot cheaper than discounts and it really “buys” more customer loyalty.

 

I Used To Lock Some Customers In My Store Until They Made A Purchase!

I guess you can’t have it easier than that. If a customer doesn’t buy, lock them up until they do buy!

All kidding aside though, on many occasions I did lock the customer in the store with me until they were taken care of.

This would happen if it was closing time and my customer wasn’t finished shopping or we may have been having a fit problem that was going to take some time, or I might have been making an adjustment on returned merchandise.

I would tell the help to go home and lock the door and leave the lights on with me and my customer inside. The surprising thing was that most of the times this happened the customer was willing to return the following day to finish but I was always willing to stay late if they were willing. They had the option.

I can hear you saying now, “why lock the door when you might get more customers”?

That wasn’t my concern. My concern was the customer I had and I wanted to be in a position to give that customer my undivided attention. Other customers coming in would have split my attention. Not  conducive to good customer service.

Every customer I ever did this with was very grateful to me.

Every customer I ever did this with became a loyal customer to our store.

Did I give up my time just to make a loyal customer that would spend more money in my store?

NOPE! I stayed simply because I wanted to solve the customer’s problem.

Oh, and by the way, I always did solve the customer’s problem.

Are you willing to lock the customer in your store until they make a purchase? Do you allow your associates to stay late to take care of your customers?

A Guy Named Joe And Customer Service!

There was this guy who worked in a shoe store. The store was located in a strip plaza. The parking was very convenient.

Joe always felt bad when he saw handicapped people struggle to get from their car into the store.

One day, he saw one of these customers parking in front of the store. He immediately went out to the parking lot and told the customer that to make it easier on them, he would fit their feet right there in the car if that would be more convenient.

The customer was delighted with this offer and agreed. Everything went fine and when they were done, Joe told the customer that whenever they came to buy shoes, to just send someone into the store and he would go to the car to take care of them.

Joe simply wanted to make it easier for this customer. He sincerely felt bad that their problem made it difficult for them to shop.

Was this the only customer Joe would do this for? Not after the word got out!

Did Joe offer that service just to get positive word of mouth? No!

Did Joe build a loyal following of customers with mobility problems? Yes!

Did he also sell shoes to those customer’s family and friends?  Yes!

How do I know that Joe really gained all of those loyal customers because he provided that service?

The Joe I talk about above is none other than yours truly!