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Having a good product, or providing a needed service is what makes you start your own business. But unless you have figured out what customers want from your business, it will never become a great success. Spend some time trying to see it from the consumer’s point of view, and you will benefit greatly!
A friendly voice on the phone, or a warm smile when you are approached by a customer goes a long way to make them comfortable and glad to do business with you. Try not to be negative. If a customer asks you for something, he wants you to say yes. If it just isn’t possible or practical to do, then get around the problem, by saying you will try, or talk to your boss, or make a call, instead of just flatly refusing. Even if they don’t get what they want, they will see that you cared enough to try.
Are you making it easy for your customers to do business with you? For example, painters and construction people have very early hours. Is your business open early enough to accommodate them? Is there plenty of parking? Is your store accessible to the handicapped? Can they reach you by phone with their questions? Do you call them back promptly if they leave a message when the store is already closed for the day? Make it convenient for them and they will stay with you.
Having a website, where shoppers can see what you have, check out prices and sales, locate the store nearest them, get an address, directions, store hours, and a phone number, will open you up to people day and night. Having information available at all hours is great for your business.
Stay up to date on the newest innovations in your line of business. Be able to talk intelligently with customers about what they will want to buy next month or next year to replace outmoded items they are presently using. Ask them what they would like to see in the store that you don’t carry at this time. Then try to get it. Let them know that you appreciate their interest and their ideas.
Answer all emails, letters, calls, and inquiries. Customer service needs to be prompt and courteous. The customer that comes in wanting to exchange something, might just throw it at you and walk out, if you are flippant, nasty, and unsympathetic.