The customer experience is the foundation of your convenience store. Without loyal customers and positive customer experiences, your store would not survive – which is why it is important to go above and beyond providing “good customer service.” You need to provide an experience that that’s not only satisfying, but leaves them wanting more.
Personalize the Customer Experience
Chances are, your store probably has at least a few regulars – those customers who stop in every morning for their cup of coffee or maybe in the afternoon for a quick bite to eat. It’s important to recognize those customers and provide them with an experience that makes them feel appreciated. Some ways to personalize the experience for them can include:
- If you know their name, use it when speaking to them. Building a relationship with regular customers will make them feel more comfortable and welcome in your store.
- Engage the customer in conversation when able – make them feel like they’re more than just another transaction.
- Regular customers often have regular purchases; learn what items they usually buy so you can make recommendations based on those items.
Reward Customer Loyalty
It’s easier and more cost effective to maintain customer loyalty than to try to acquire new customers, which is why it’s important to provide a customer experience that will keep them coming back. Rewarding customers for their loyalty is an easy way to make them want to return and there are many ways you can do this.
- Loyalty Cards: This tried-and-true method is an easy option if you don’t have the budget for building a custom app. The “Buy 10 Get One Free” offer is particularly appealing to the regular customers who frequent your store for the same items. You can also step outside the punch card box and offer card holders a free donut with coffee, or free chips with a sandwich, or a multitude of other add-ons that reward them for their loyalty.
- Rewards Apps: Loyalty cards are more often being replaced by phone apps, which cut down on the clutter on a key ring and make it more convenient for your customer. The app also opens up a wide variety of possibilities for rewards – from free items, to building up points for larger rewards and discounts on fuel. You can also push specific coupons to promote certain items and bring customers into your store.
Some of your best customers may never even enter your store, but they’re equally important to your business. Create a positive customer experience at the pump by properly maintaining exterior store care. There are plenty of options for purchasing fuel and you want customers to choose you, so make sure the area around your pumps is clean and well-maintained. Also be sure you’re taking advantage of any merchandising opportunities you have at the pump to try to drive some of those customers into your store. For example, if purchases indoors can lead to discounts at the pump, you definitely want your fuel customers to know this.
Train Your Staff to Leverage the Customer Experience
Suggestive selling is a way to leverage the customer experience in a way that both increases sales and improves service. When employees recommend items that are new to the store, on sale, or complement a customer’s purchase, everyone wins. The store adds to its bottom line, and customers leave the store feeling appreciated and valued. Employees may be hesitant to suggestively sell, but this apprehension can be overcome with the right training. Our Basics of Suggestive Selling online training module uses realistic scenarios and sample dialogue to teach convenience store employees easy methods to improve the customer experience through add-on sales.