How do you go about connecting with customers, establishing relationships with them and then figuring out how to best stay in touch - particularly in categories where the replacement cycle takes years rather than days? These were some of the questions explored this past September 2010 during my visit with Canada Nufloors Group members in Kelowna, British Columbia.
[If you remember from Press Release: Nufloors Turning Flooring Customers Into Advocates, Canada Nufloors Group Inc., represents leading Canadian floor covering retailers with locations in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.]
In addition to sharing my presentation titled "Retail Hospitality or Customer Service Before, During and After the Sale" about connecting with customers, I got to hear wise advice from Cynthia Dean, General Manager of Nufloors Coquitlam, as she shared her experiences 'Turning Flooring Customers Into Advocates'
Here are points she addressed that particularly resonated with me.
Survey your customers. You'll find out that you don't know what you think you know. You'll also discover that customers are passionate about you and will give feedback.
Share what you learn from customers with your entire organization. Make everyone a part of the solution. From analyzing the responses, create an action plan that you implement. Then repeat the process. Be sure to measure results. What you measure, you can manage & improve. Furthermore, the process creates a halo effect from focusing on customers on an ongoing basis.
Simple ideas are effective in delighting customers. For example, have umbrellas with Nufloors imprinted available when it rains. Then, walk your customer to her car with the umbrella deployed!
From a practical perspective, Cynthia recommended the following process for dealing with customer survey results:
- Once you get feedback, don't get overwhelmed.
- Take the easy ones first
- Stay focused on 2 or 3 to work on
- Be sure to research so you have hard data vs. gut feel
- Develop an action plan. Tackle problems at their root cause. Make one person responsible for the action plan. Monitor progress once a month, and stay committed.
[A theme that has been coming up repeatedly lately is the importance of focusing and prioritizing.]
Here are my presentation slides: