How to engage your customers

How to engage your customers

One of our goals at nizeX, Inc. is to help come up with ideas to get customers back into your businesses. We don’t want to be seen as just your software provider, but as a needed partner that provides not only software solutions but ideas as well. We hope as we proceed forward for to become a central component in learning new business practices and finding key information you can use to increase your bottom line. In this post I’m going to cover something I think is very important, and a necessary first step. Customer Relations:

I can not tell you over the last 16 years of operating this business, how many dealers have told me they don’t have the time or desire to get a customer’s full name, address and phone numbers when all they want to do is sell something and get them out the door. I’m going to try to give you a few reasons why you should always collect a customer’s data and a few ways to engage the customer in the collection of that data.

A few very important reasons why you should always have a customer’s data is being able to view purchase history, help them out if they lost a receipt and need to return a product, identify repeat customers quickly and automatically even though you might not have ever met them, help a wife out when she needs to purchase something for her husband’s birthday and doesn’t know exactly what type of unit he owns, allowing the customer to login to the system and check their own service tickets and sales history, aid in sales campaigns. I’m sure there are more reasons I’ve left out but that is a good start. The point is, there are many reasons why this information is important to have and it should always be collected.

So the most common reason I get for why it can’t be done? Time of course. So lets address time and see where it all falls in the big scheme of things. To do this, lets first take a look at the amount of time it takes to collect the data. The important data needs to first be identified and recognized: Phone Number, First and Last Name, Address and Zipcode. These are the core parts of any customer’s data that should be collected and stored. However, if you are not on board with all this yet, maybe you could eliminate the address and zipcode and only collect a name and phone number. This is better than nothing, and you can grow from there. Another key component that I’d like to add is an email address.

Email addresses are probably the handiest thing to have with Lizzy™ because she will automatically notify them on all sorts of occasions, such as special order parts arriving, service ticket completion, sending invoice copies electronically instead of constantly printing them, and allowing them to login, if you wish, to check their own accounts. All of this is automatic, free, and built into Lizzy’s™ everyday processes so why not take advantage of them?

To collect the above information from a customer might take you a total of 1 extra minute, and only the first time they arrive. Afterwards you only need their name to locate the record in question and place them on the invoice. So I’d have to say the argument of time really doesn’t hold up well if that truly is your excuse. Next, lets take a look at the second most used argument, which is: “The Customer Won’t Give It To Me”:

Collecting this information doesn’t need to be presented to the customer as a pain or problem. It needs to be presented as a cool new tool that you have that engages the customer at the point of sale. After all, we do want this person to return to our store don’t we? Lets start with their very first moment at the counter. Here are just a few examples of things you could do to make this a fun process that gets you the needed data and gets your customers something as well. How about a monthly contest where you randomly pull a person from a hat and give away a $25.00 gift card? People like free things and Lizzy actually comes complete with your random selection tool to quickly find a customer and give away the gift. This gives them a very good reason to participate and provide their information and gets people back in your store to buy things that might not have come back at all.

You should provide your sales counter people with a whole list of reasons why the customer’s information is important, not to you, but to them. Use a few of the ones mentioned above and make up your own as well. You don’t need a whole list, just a few to make your point. You need to start making this an important part of every sale. It also helps your employees to start remembering names of people that frequent your store and lets management recognize people that they might want to give discounts to since they come in so often. This can even be done from home at night while everyone else is sleeping..

So even though the General Customer type is available for you to use, I personally hope you never do.

–glenn hancock