How to Get Customer Attention and Trust
Be Open During Posted Hours
Customers are People Too
Treat your customers well - the way you would expect to be treated if the roles were reversed.
This is true in person and online.
Learn what they want and/or need so that you can offer it to them if possible.
Set store hours and then be sure that the place is open during the posted hours or you will lose trust.
Of course, an emergency may happen and we are all only human, but overall do your best to be consistent.
These tips will apply to just about any type of business.
Value Your Customers
Be honest, be on time, and be careful to treat each with the mind that it is the most important order you have that day.
Sometimes things happen that cause you to be late in fulfilling an order. Just let the customer know what happened, what you are doing about it and when you will have it done.
When a customer asks for certain items and you do not have them, try to get them. Many of the vintage and new jewelry selection came about because that type was requested by customers.
In my business, I deal quite a bit in All Natural Products so I try to be very transparent about how I do things to give my customers and prospective customers all of the information that they need to decide for themselves what they consider as natural.
Be an Open Book That Your Customers Will Want to Read
Give them the facts, but also show a little of your personality as well and why you do what you do.
As stated earlier, for the natural products type of business, it is extremely important to do everything to let customers know what to expect to gain their trust.
There are so many folks out there selling in cyberspace and on store shelves who claim to have natural products and yet the scope of what is called natural is wide indeed.
It is up to the customer to decide what they want so I say no harm no foul if your customers know exactly what they are getting.
The problem comes about when customers have no idea what questions they should be asking so that they can make a solid decision based on their own definition of natural, not the sellers definition of what it is.
Work very hard to be upfront about your products - you are your brand - which to be honest doesn't matter that much to the average consumer, but to someone who has allergies or simply knows a thing or two about the ingredients used in the bath/beauty industry - having the information clear and up front can make all the difference.
When you write for Facebook; gather.com; HubPages; blogs; websites; yahoo groups; and more, you may get many customers though those avenues because the readers get to know you and to feel confident in buying from you because they could see the way you live, what you believe, and how you think due to having all of these places to see if you are what you say or just blowing smoke.
ALWAYS fill out your profile whenever you join a group or a forum... as this helps to make you a real person to any potential customers who may see one of your posts in a forum somewhere and are curious about you and what you sell.
Customers Do Read so Watch What You Write
We need to be aware that potential customers may see our blogs; Twitter; Facebook and others so we want to be careful what we write and with whom we associate.
Of course, giving out a little bit of personal information or being a little silly every once in a while or having one or two odd ball associates shouldn't hurt us because we can't be expected to be perfect business people every second. Also, sometimes it is nice to show our human side.
But, we want to watch that we don't make our customers think poorly of us because of who or what they could see on our pages - after all, being in business can put us under the microscope so we need to be careful.
Don't feel that you have to link to someone because they ask you to - or that just because they connect to your page (or "follow" you) that you have to return the favor.
Look at their content first - is it good content that meshes well with yours - or at the very least, it is not offensive?
If you like what you see, then by all means connect back to them.
Just remember, customers DO surf the net and read our pages - so be careful as to what they find in them.
It is just like our Mom's used to say "People think you are who you hang out with"
How To Get Your Business Noticed Online
There are so many forums and groups that a store owner can join and add a link to his or her store, but should it end there?
I sure hope not.
That would be similar to standing on the side of the road and throwing 1,000 of your business cards up in the air and then expecting sales that way. Yes, you might get a few sales, but it really wont be worth your time and it would waste your resources.
So, what to do?
Make a real connection both in person and online. Join groups in which you have an interest and then participate, answer questions and try to help out, make friends.
Try to confine your link to your signature if you are allowed to have one.
There is nothing wrong with promoting your business as long as it isn't the main reason for being there. People see right through that and wont give you a second look.
Being in a community; forum; group; local club; and the local Chamber of Commerce is the same as joining in anywhere else in that there are those who really join in whenever possible and do all of the above and also get the benefits from it such as friends and answers to their questions. It may eventually mean more sales as well.
Then, there are those who just "friend" everyone (figuratively throw business cards at them) and join every group, leave links and coupons everywhere, but do not really join in the conversations or try to help anyone else - but complain about sales.
Doing the good things above will not make you a millionaire, but the more folks get to know you - the more they trust you - and then the more they refer you to their friends - and if they themselves need/want what you have, then they may become a customer too.
Buying online is the same as buying in person.
If I am window shopping and see two stores side-by-side selling the same types of items - how do I decide which to enter?
Which one looks most appealing to me, more organized, safer, friendlier and seems to have something for which I have been looking?
Now, just because I went in - doesn't mean I will stay very long or buy.
How am I welcomed?
How well are the products arranged on the shelves?
Are they clearly marked with the ingredients and uses (or did you try to skirt the issue and just say Natural ingredients without naming them)?
And what about the price - is it clearly marked?
What are your policies?
What do you stand for and what do you support and how?
If I have a question about something, is an effort made to help me - or will you just brush me off or even worse try to placate me?
Do I feel valued as a customer or do I think that you just want my money?
For most of us, shopping is an experience and we want it to be a good one.
Yes, of course sometimes we buy because we need something (soap, tissues, milk), but if given two choices we will choose to be where we we feel valued
So, Which kind of store do we want our store (online or a B & M store) to be and how are we going about trying to make it that way?
Do You Appreciate it When a Seller Cares About Your Needs?
Here is an email that I sent out to customers back in 2010:
I just wanted to check in to let you know that I will be restocking soon.
My mom has had her cancer come back and it is everywhere so I have been a little preoccupied with that.
I am working on adding more perfumes, herb/flower-filled neck and eye pillows and of course more sachets too.
I still need to make more room-scenting pillows and shoe sachets among other things too.
Being only one person, I wanted to ask all of my customers what they were waiting on (if anything) so that I could work on those items first.
Please let me know.
Thank you and have a good day.
Be the Same in Person and Online
I sell in a few online places and have a small Brick & Mortar gift shop in Hubbard, Ohio. I tried to use OrganicGiftsByDiana as my name just about anywhere I go online for my stores and blog when I was able.
Also, I am friendly and helpful with my customers both online and the folks who come into my gift shop in Hubbard, Ohio.
Customer service is important - always !
How Do You Treat Customers in Person?
Be pleasant without seeming too pushy.
I am a naturally shy person, so learning to speak with customers was tough, but it is SO important so try rehearsing a few scenarios to get more comfortable with your everyday conversation skills.
Know your subjects, be they products or services... because this will help you be more at ease when you speak about them.
Smile - and mean it !
Sometimes, you may be having a bad day and that's okay - just be honest with them and most will understand and may even help you to laugh it off and then both of you will feel better.