In Sleepless in Seattle, Tom Hanks told Meg Ryan, “It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it." Similarly, when your customers walk into your business, they are paying attention to the “little things” that define their experience and will ultimately determine if they return. In recognition of Valentine’s Day, Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ: CTAS) announced the top ways to make your customers love your business.
“Too often, we get wrapped up in the day-to-day operations and don’t take the time to step back and see how the customer might perceive our business,” said Jamie Samide, Senior Director of Marketing, Cintas. “Sometimes it’s the little things—spotless floors, professionally dressed employees or a staff trained to handle any incident—that will make our customers love our businesses and want to return.”
From the front door to your storage room, Cintas identifies the following strategies to make customers love your business:
- Make a positive first impression. The minute a customer walks into your business, make sure someone is there to welcome them. This person should be dressed in a uniform that reflects the company brand. Whether it’s a landscaping service, or automotive shop, the workers’ apparel should allow them to feel comfortable, yet look professional, throughout the day.
- Give them confidence. When a customer does business with you, they may be entrusting you with sensitive information, such as their credit card data or social security number. Secure that information with a document management program that identifies the proper lifecycle for each document so it can be properly stored and securely shredded when it is no longer needed. Making secure document shredding bins available for customers to destroy their sensitive information can also instill confidence, as it shows that you take data privacy very seriously.
- Maintain the best possible image. If someone comes into your place of business one day and finds it clean and then dirty the next, it shows inconsistency. Maintain clean facilities to show customers that you pay attention to the details. Eliminating dirt and buildup from floors, regularly checking restroom supplies and removing marks, such as fingerprints, from glass and other hard surfaces throughout your building are just a few points of focus in a clean building program that will make a big difference to your customers.
- Make them feel safe. Businesses should always be ready to handle any emergency, such as a fire, first-aid incident or sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Regularly have your protection equipment inspected and tested in case of a fire. For medical emergencies or SCA, equip your business with a regularly stocked first-aid cabinet or automated external defibrillators (AEDs) so you have the proper bandages and supplies available as a first line of response.
In addition to having the proper supplies available in case of an emergency, make sure staff receive training so they know what to do. Blended training solutions combine online, classroom and DVD media to accommodate different types of businesses and learning styles.
- Show them you care. Follow up with customers after their visit to ask them about their experience. Inquire about their satisfaction with the “little details” of your business, such as its cleanliness, the appearance of your staff, etc. By soliciting their input to identify areas of improvement and making enhancements within your business, you show customers you value their business.