Enhancing the Customer Experience in Your Boutique Business
|Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.|
Enhancing the Customer Experience in Your Boutique Business
Your boutique business is no ordinary enterprise. You offer that special selection, those unique items or that specialized service. You provide something extra; something different than a basic, run-of-the-mill business. Of course, your offerings, being extraordinary, come with a more robust pricetag. And while your clientele is willing to pay more, there’s something extra they should be able to count on: an amazing customer experience.
Satisfaction simply isn’t enough; you must go above and beyond to make certain your customers know you see them as special. Making customers feel particularly valued is a critical element for a boutique business. In fact, when you run a boutique business, it’s fair to say that the customer experience is every bit as important as your offerings. That premier customer experience imbues your business with cachet, ensuring your clientele feels especially appreciated, attended to, even catered to. As a boutique business owner, you’ll want to engage with the customer at as many points as possible in order to predict her needs and desires, to be prepared when she’s ready to purchase and to follow up in a thorough manner.
Demonstrating Enhanced Customer Experience
1: Build Relationships
As a boutique business, you are able to have a more personalized relationship with your customers. In the course of serving them, you have the opportunity to learn more about their interests, needs, preferences and lifestyle. Make use of this information to build relationships with your clientele as individual people with unique qualities. Referencing past interactions, purchases and conversations will demonstrate to a customer that she is more than an order number to you. This practice builds rapport and trust and a degree of familiarity between you and your customers. They will surely prefer doing business with someone who cares enough to foster a relationship with them.
2: Offer A Personalized Shopping Experience
Your boutique business most likely provides very specific and/or unique offerings. Take the time to assist each and every customer in their shopping. No customer should be left wandering the shop aimlessly (unless that’s what she prefers to do). Personally show them to the merchandise for which they’re looking; steer them to the particular service they want or need. Offer specific details based on their unique circumstances. Let them know in no uncertain terms that you are dedicated to completely serving their needs. In some businesses, it may be appropriate to assign an employee to a customer as an “account specialist” to ensure that a customer receives the ultimate in personalized service.
3: Be Proactive With Advertising
A boutique business should practice more personalized advertising. Avoid the “one size fits all” approach when promoting your goods and services. Bear in mind the specifics of each customer and personalize the message to their history and particular areas of interest. As an example, you may want to reach out to a customer of your clothing shop when her favorite designer’s apparel goes on sale or when new items that match her preference for boho style or lace are due in. She will appreciate your attention to her specific areas of interest and will feel validated that you thought of her.
4: Make Recommendations Based Upon Personal Knowledge
As a professional in your industry, you have the inside track on new or enhanced offerings coming down the pike. For example, if your customer, a graphic artist, is moving to a new office location, your electronics shop may want to recommend a particular line of telephones or copiers that may fit with her leading-edge reputation. Contextual product recommendations from you, an established trusted source of information, products, service and advice will carry a lot of weight. Rather than a “sales pitch” your recommendation will be seen as an extension of your professional partnership.
Collecting and Accessing Customer Information
You may be wondering how in the world you could possibly remember all that information about each and every customer. Unless your business is extremely elite or your memory extremely sharp, you’re going to need some assistance in the memory department. A Customer Relationship Management program (CRM) could prove incredibly helpful for collecting the information you would need to follow up in the very detailed and thorough way necessary. A good CRM will provide a place for you to store and easily access the data you want to track about your customers, enabling you to be remarkably responsive to them. You can record any type of information you deem important to establishing and maintaining the level of familiarity you desire with your clientele. Anniversary of their business’ grand opening? Dog’s breed and name? Unusual shoe size? Son’s college and major? PC or Mac? A fan of your seasonal ice cream flavor? Can’t resist a sale on their favorite guitar brand? Whatever the data, the particulars you choose provide another way to relate to your customer.
With a great boutique business comes the great responsibility to treat your clientele with attentive, personalized care. With the extra money they spend with you, they’re expecting you to serve them in a more intensive manner than “just any ole store” would. Take that responsibility to heart by providing a remarkable customer experience and you’ll foster loyal customers who will gladly sing your praises.
How does your boutique business provide the ultimate customer experience?
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