The following memo was written by Wireless Zone and Boomer McCloud founder Russ Weldon for his retailer partners, but his nine simple rules of customer etiquette apply industrywide.
Here are nine things every retail store owner or manager should do to make customers happy when they come to your store:
1. Make your signage friendly and current.
You will never get a second look if your outdoor signage makes a bad first impression. Keep your store sign well maintained. Also, periodically change the window signage and messages that are visible from the street.
2. Keep it clean.
Have a daily cleaning regimen that includes the floor, counter, shelves and installation area. What's more, your store should not only look good, it should smell good, too. Think about it this way: Is your store clean enough to impress your mother?
3. Provide ample, well-lit parking.
Is parking convenient? Is the lot clean and well lit? A crummy parking situation gets your relationship with customers off on the wrong foot.
4. Spend time on merchandising. If your store looks like a garage sale, customers will expect garage-sale prices. Display products should be clean, well organized and work perfectly. Change product displays periodically and make them interesting.
5. Fix up those fixtures. Fresh paint always makes a store look newer and cleaner. Keep countertops and shelving in good condition, replace burned-out light bulbs, repair those worn countertops and replace the flooring when necessary.
6. Monitor the sound.
Your store is a business, not a Metallica concert. Music is great but keep it at a conversational level.
7. Dress for success.
Your customers want to talk to professionals, so every employee should dress the part. Nothing fancy, just clean and neat. And if everyone wears matching logo shirts, that's even better.
8. Be enthusiastic. Smile and greet customers when they come in. If your customers want to see The Grinch, they'll go to the movies.
9. Listen carefully.
Customers aren't impressed with big talkers. They are impressed with salespeople who show a sincere interest in their needs and know their products.
Russ Weldon is the founder and CEO of Automotive Technologies. In 1988 he launched Wireless Zone, a wireless communications retail chain that has since grown to 130 stores in 12 states. In 1996 he established Boomer McLoud, a mobile electronics chain that now encompasses 80 member-operated stores in eight states.