Top 5 Things to Avoid If You Want to Keep Customers
My name is Treacle and I’m the founder of The Lingerie Addict, a haven for lingerie lovers of every nation and persuasion. As a blogger, I interact constantly with the people your business needs most—customers. My column here is all about bringing you, the lingerie store owner, the perspective of us, the lingerie consumers.
The holiday shopping season is upon us and with that comes a mad dash for the most intimate of all Christmas gifts…lingerie. As a lingerie blogger, I spend a lot of time in lingerie stores, and I’ve seen a lot of things that have made me head for the exit as quickly as possible…never to return or recommend you to my friends. Want to know the top 5 thing to avoid if you want to keep your customers? Keep reading!
1) Ignore me as I walk through the door. I know your store may be full of people. I know you may be in the middle of helping someone. But it only takes two seconds to lift your head and say “Welcome! I’ll be with you in just a minute.” All the customer wants at the very beginning is to be acknowledged, and a simple greeting does exactly that. In addition, avoid ignoring customers who “don’t look like” they’re going to buy anything. If you decide in advance that a customer isn’t worth your time, they won’t think you’re worth their $$$.
2) Hover over me, even after I’ve said I’m just looking. This might seem contradictory to #1, but when you trail someone around the store or ask them repeatedly if they need assistance, they can begin to feel pressured. And the quickest way to relieve that pressure is to leave through the front door. Instead, if someone says they’re looking, respond with something similar to “Great! Well my name is xyz, and I’ll be over here if you need anything.” That way, the customer is free to approach you when they’re ready, but still feels like “just looking” is okay.
3) Hire staff that doesn’t know what they’re doing. As a lingerie boutique owner, your staff should be able to do everything from perform a bra fitting to tell a customer why one brand costs more than another. There are few things more frustrating than going into a boutique and knowing more about the merchandise than the staff does. If your employees aren’t able to help your customers, then what are they there for?
4) Be cluttered, disorganized, or have an otherwise poor store atmosphere. Broken lightbulbs, knickers on the floor, a messy dressing room…all that gives a bad impression. Especially during the holiday season, customers decide if they like you well enough to stay within the first few seconds of entering your store; don’t give them a reason to turn around.
5) Don’t listen to me. Even customers who don’t have a firm grasp of the lingerie lingo often have a very clear idea of what they want. Address the questions they’ve come into your store with first before leading them off in other directions. Otherwise, the customer won’t feel like you’ve heard a word they said…and rightly so. In addition, don’t be afraid to refer a customer to someone who’s a better fit for what they need. Even if you don’t make a sale with them, you’ll still be remembered as the boutique that put their needs first…which can only result in a good word later on.
You’ll notice that 4 of 5 of these deal with the customer experience, not with your products, prices, location, or any of that other stuff. Why? Because when a customer chooses a lingerie boutique over an online retailer, that’s part of why she’s choosing it…for that personal touch….the unique, specialized, expert experience that only a boutique can provide.
Oh, and here’s one bonus tip–don’t forget to follow-up. Whether it’s with a phone call, handwritten note, or e-mail, follow-up is an essential part of the boutique experience, and it ensures that the last contact a customer has with you is a positive one.
Want to learn about other ways to connect with your customers? Then take a look at my previous columns for The Lingerie Journal.
For more on Treacle, please visit her site at: www.thelingerieaddict.com