The Best Customer-Relationship Tool: Credit & Debit Cards

Would Your Customers Work for Your Company?

Retailing is in big trouble. Technology has become the fix. I have one simple solution to use in every interaction to help create and build a relationship between the retailer and customer. Use the information on a credit or debit card when you give it back to the customer and say, “Mr. Smith, thanks so much for your business. Have a wonderful day!”

In this era of attempting customization and personalization, customers value and feel special when a retailer calls them by name. It helps build an instant relationship and demonstrates to the customer that the associate is paying attention to details. I know it sounds easy and it is. I’m often asked what is the one thing I can train my people to do that will help their bottom line? I always tell them; saying the customer’s name has the best return on investment since the cost is zero dollars to implement, takes less than five seconds and makes the customer feel good.

Many towns have multiple gas stations on one corner; each with their own small convenience store. I guarantee that the proprietors who train their staff to smile and use the customer’s name as they close the interaction will produce a larger percentage of repeat customers even if the price of gasoline is periodically higher than their competitors.

The key to generating repeat business is creating a human-to-human touch.  It should not be a difficult or complex task. If your company eliminates sales staff and reduces service, please don’t install self-serve stations that will eradicate the last opportunity to say,  “ Mr. Smith, we appreciate your business.” A robot or voice recording to say “thank you” adds no value nor creates a relationship.

Ensure your staff is trained to leverage the customer’s name as a way to leave the person thinking: that was a nice touch.

What do you think?

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About the Author ()

Richard R. Shapiro is Founder and President of The Center For Client Retention (TCFCR) and a leading authority in the area of customer satisfaction and loyalty. For 28 years, Richard has spearheaded the research conducted with thousands of customers from Fortune 100 and 500 companies amassing the ingredients of customer loyalty and what drives repeat business. His first book was The Welcomer Edge: Unlocking the Secrets to Repeat Business and The Endangered Customer: 8 Steps to Guarantee Repeat Business, was released in February, 2016.

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