Keeping Promises to Build Customer Loyalty

Management, Operations, Training

Customers have a lot of expectations from convenience stores. Some are implicit, or unspoken – they expect the gas pumps to work, they expect you to carry the latest products, and they expect you to live up to being a convenient solution for their quick shopping needs. Other promises you make to build customer loyalty are explicit – your “Customers come first!” tagline, the rewards you offer in your loyalty program, or the commitment to cleanliness you post on the bathroom door.

Your response to public health issues – especially as we emerge from a global health crisis – also represents a promise. If you post your germ mitigation rules and guidelines, you’re making a promise to protect the safety of your customers and employees. If you publicize a commendable rating from a public health agency or certify your business as CovidSafe, you must exceed the standards of those programs every minute of every day.

How Do You Keep Your Promises?

Your employees are your promise-keepers. With the most direct contact with your customers, they have the most influence over customer perception. More than you, or your product offerings, it’s your employees who can either degrade or build customer loyalty.

As a convenience store manager or owner, it is your responsibility to empower your employees with the knowledge and skills they need to keep the promises you’re making as a store. This requires them to first understand the promise and then fulfill it according to company guidelines. To do this, you must provide effective convenience store employee training.

Build commitment to your company’s signature promises from an employee’s first day of orientation, train on specific customer loyalty strategies, and follow that up with on-the-job training and mentoring. Most importantly, lead by example.

What Happens When You Break a Promise?

Promises are tricky. Sometimes, you can break a promise without even knowing it simply because of poor staff training or unforeseen logistical issues. You can’t count on your customers to tell you when you’re making good on your promises and when you’re not. You must consistently evaluate your staff, provide training and refresher training regularly, and reward customer loyalty efforts. If you find that you or staff has broken a promise, find out what went wrong, and fix it.

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