Dear M & M:
I’m going forward with my business in 2015. What are some things I need to do to get more business?
There never is a silver bullet solution to a question like this as each business is unique. If I had to concentrate on one key area it would be customer service before, during and after the sale. Tomorrow morning look at your business through the eyes of your customer. What do you see? Start with the parking lot. Is your sign visible, do all the lights work, is it clean and does it stand out? Is the parking lot clean; are there spaces for people to park?
Are posters and signs in the window faded, torn, current and relevant? Are store hours posted and are you opening and closing when you say you are? Do windows and doors need to be cleaned or is it time to scrape away some cob webs or dead bugs? Now we are inside. What do you see? What do you hear?
Do all the lights in the ceiling and displays come on? Are your price tags on your merchandise worn, looking old, are all your displays well stocked, with a sign showing the sale prices? Did anyone greet you when you entered the store, was it a sincere greeting, were they really glad to see you and were they helpful?
Do people have name tags; are they calling customers by name? Are your employees in any type of uniform, can you tell the difference from your sales staff to a regular customer? Imagine if you can’t, how can a customer know where to go to get help or to ask a question?
Do your sales people take people to where the item is that they can’t find, or do they just point? Maybe they were too busy on their cell phone to even bother to notice a customer needs help?
Does anyone even bother to say thanks for coming in? When was the last time you called or sent a card to someone that did business with you to see if everything was OK and thanked them for shopping with you? Acquiring, developing and retaining customers is important for any business to succeed.
Time needs to be spent thinking and doing what you can to improve in all three areas. Service before, during and after the sale would be the silver bullet. The founder of Wal-Mart, Sam Walton, said it best, “There is only one boss – the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center(SBDC) at Cochise College (520)-515-5478 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation(EDF) at 520-458-6948 or email email@example.com