5 Ways To Engage Your Customers

Whether you have a free standing store, an online store or sell in any other way, it is important to keep your customers engaged. By doing this, you keep their attention and hopefully will keep their business, as well. Five ways to help do this include the following.

1. Ask your customers their opinion. Have some ideas but not sure if your customers will respond to them favorably? Reach out to them and ask before you invest your time and money into this idea. You may be surprised with what you find out – and what you learn (including new, stronger ideas). Want to gain feedback from a recent sale or special event? Tell your customers “thanks” while also reaching for some insight on their thoughts. A great way to do this is to send a “feedback” survey via email.  Get them to talk to you about what they really think of what you are doing for their business.

2. Be open to complaints and address them. We have all had our issues, let’s face it. Late deliveries, poor communication, damaged products – the list goes on and on. Sometimes it is out of our control however often, it’s not. Listen up when you hear a complaint and try to evaluate how you can improve on this the next time around. In addition, try to make sure your customer is ultimately happy. And of course, follow through! Let them know you heard them (give thanks here too) and that you are working on improving or fixing the situation.

3. Remember the little details of your customers lives. Their kids names, a special event they just went to, an upcoming occasion, where they work – make it a point to listen and then ask them in friendly yet professional ways how things are going when you talk to them. Each customer is different, though, and some may respond to this chit chat better than others. But those that enjoy it will appreciate it. Limit this to just a bit of time, though, as it’s important to get to business and not take up too much of your customer’s time.

4. Refer your customers new business when possible. Want to make your customers really happy? Bring them business! Whether it’s a small deal, a single sale or just a shopper who doesn’t even make a purchase, let them know you appreciate what they offer and tell others about it! Make sure they know you are referring people their way, but you don’t need to do this in a big way. Simply send them an email letting them know “so and so” may call them or stop by.

5. Actually care. So simple and yet so powerful. If you actually care about your customers, they are more likely to care about you. Are they struggling with bills this month due to the economy? Listen and see if you can extend their payment for you – if, of course, you know it will come. Are they dealing with a family crisis? Send your thoughts and best wishes – and mean it. Maybe you just value their business. Let them know! Sincere actions go a long way. Show how you care whenever you can.

Retail Minded is committed to helping independent retail and wholesale businesses thrive in all the ways that matter, but we can’t do this alone! We’d love to hear your thoughts for our readers to learn more. Please comment below.


  • Ted Hurlbut
    April 21, 2009

    Nicole, your points are very well taken. One of the great advantages that smaller retailers have over their much larger competitors is their ability to personally engage their customers. in their drive for scale and scalability, corporate retail has written the one-on-one customer-salesperson relationship right out of the equation. Those smaller retailers that focus on engaging their customers in a very personal way will find that they have very loyal customers.

  • Robin
    April 22, 2009

    I agree with Ted, I love the details that a smaller store can offer. Whether it’s wrapping a purchase, or helping with making a selection. I appreciate and look forward to the “one on one customer salesperson relationship”

    I was shopping this week with my daughter in the Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus NJ. We went to Forever 21 (XX1). The line to the woman’s fitting room had to have at least 25 people on it. When we finally got to the front of the line I asked the saleswoman if they could open the downstairs fitting room. She claimed they only did this when it was crowded! I mentioned the line and she gave me a look. There had to be six individuals running merchandise back out to the floor all standing around talking. I told my daughter that I would have been fired as a manager if this situation had ever occured when I was a store manager!

    Things sure have changed! I agree with the points that you mention in your article and hope that merchants will take your advice!

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