Shoppers today don’t just appreciate a personal touch from retailers — they expect it. Fortunately, “personalized customer service is one area where small businesses can really shine,” said Rieva Lesonsky, CEO and founder of GrowBiz Media, in an article for American Express Open Forum.
Here are some tactics she recommends you use to better connect with residents in your community, making them both friends and patrons:
- Use their names. Show your loyal and frequent customers appreciation by proving you recognize them. Greet familiar faces (and voices) by name when they walk in or call your shop. Include their names in email an text correspondence, as well as direct mail pieces and email newsletters.
Also, consider having your customer service reps use their real names whenever they interact with customers. It can be a lot more personal than communicating with CustomerService@Daisiesflowers.com.
- Track your Customers’ Favorite Merchandise. As you learn customers’ names and faces, you should also become familiar with their (or, rather, their loved ones’) favorite flowers, colors or design styles. Your Point of Sale system should make this a cinch. Check records of past purchases to recommend something that aligns with their preferences.
- Offer a Floral Loyalty Program. Raise your hand if you have a punch card that rewards you with a free cup of coffee/sandwich/ice cream cone, etc. after you’ve made a set number of purchases. Loyalty programs do wonders to entice repeat business. At Conklyn’s Florist in Alexandria, Virginia, customers receive one “petal reward point” for every dollar spent, which they accumulate and then redeem for a dollar discount. Knowing that every order gets them closer to their goal (money back) incentivizes customers to stick with one florist rather than shopping around.
- Provide Service on Multiple Platforms. As parents of teenagers can attest to everyone likes communicating with a phone call. Be flexible in reaching customers through their preferred channel, be that email, text message, Facebook messenger or Twitter direct messaging.
- Don’t Neglect the Basics. Make eye contact and smile during face-to-face interactions, speaking lightly about the weather or catching up on the customer’s day. Continuous, friendly communication will urge customers to come back to you rather than grabbing flowers at an impersonal big box store.