Here's a timely riddle. What is the definition of a terrific sale with no customers? The answer is – Useless.
The dust has not yet settled on the recent recession yet tomes have been written, countless lectures have been delivered, and editorials that can bring a tear to your eye have become the fashion. Yet, when all is said and done, pointing fingers and laying blame will change little. Unless we walk away from the financial warfare having learned how to prepare for the next time, all will have been for naught.
A common misconception was that retail failures were due to customers not shopping. That is not exactly correct. While true that consumer spending was reduced, it did not stop. There is always a need to purchase. However, shoppers became far more particular about what they purchased and where.
A secret to retail success lies in the relationship between the vendor and the customer. Consumers are far more likely to continue supporting a particular establishment when they feel an emotional tie. As such, building a strong bond with your customers is your best strategy. They will be far less likely to abandon you, even when times are bad.
It is a mistake to think that "the sale of the century" will drive traffic your way. Certainly, you may encounter a one-time success. But, after the sale ends, customers are far more likely to return to the friendly merchant who places an emphasis on efficient, courteous service. Customers prefer to frequent establishments where they feel like someone, not something. If you always stand behind your products and services, people realize that you are providing true value. Keeping your customers satisfied – no matter how difficult that may sometimes be – is the key to customer longevity. And, at the end of the day, that puts money in the bank.
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