Driving Social Business, Championing Innovation, & Inspiring Creativity

Excited to Share How Twitter Has Lifted Sales & Created Customer Advocacy

From a blogging perspective I’ve been pretty quiet lately. The past couple of months has been the final push in training our teams and preparing to “Wake Up” the wireless industry with The Belief Project from U.S. Cellular®.  Although time consuming as a leader responsible for training associates for launch, the preparation was worth it as our company sought to change the way wireless companies do business.  I am extremely proud of my team for their additional commitment to learning and creating an enhanced customer experience.  Additional pride is felt in knowing I work for a company that is focused on creating an environment that gains and retains customers with forward thinking programs, and rewards for loyalty. In today’s corporate world there are not too many people that get as excited about the company they work for as U.S. Cellular® associates do.

Anyways, “shop talk” aside, back to the reason for this post today.  Today I had the day off but for the most part I felt under the weather today, the start of a cold I presume.  Unfortunate, as I would have loved to enjoy the beautiful day outside on a hike or even doing yard work; there is lots to do in the way of yard prep for winter.  Instead I spent the day indoors juggling a fussy baby (we’re sick at the same time) and trying to put together a presentation on leveraging Twitter for business.  I was recently asked to discuss how I have built a large repeat customer base and utilized Twitter to provide a heightened degree of customer service for the WCTC DECA Organization.  I was honored to have been asked, and will be speaking this Wednesday morning.

After giving some thought as to what my discussion will entail, I have decided to pull from a several resources.  For starters I am going to draw from a presentation I gave to my BNI chapter which covers an overview of what Social Media is and how it can be a low cost and highly effective tool for business.  I will also be pulling from a blog post I wrote regarding Three Themes for Success in Social Media. In addition to those items I am going to pull from the successes I have found in building a customer base and creating a high level of customer service via Twitter.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to share what I found has worked in building my personal brand, and creating loyal customers.  There is significant potential in leveraging Social Media to create an impression on people as well as build your business.  Hopefully sharing my journey on how I’ve developed new and repeat business through Twitter will allow others to find their niche as well.

Creating a Positive First Impression with Your Customers

Ever walk into a retail store and wonder, is anyone working here? Are they even aware I walked in? Did this experience make you want to visit that establishment again?  I certainly have been in this situation and unfortunately it happens frequently. In this day and age, when it’s just as easy to make your purchases online, and when your competitors are chomping at the bit to steal your customers, it is critical that you acknowledge everyone that took the time to travel to your store.

Take a look at www.zappos.com for a second. You can now purchase shoes and clothing online for lower prices than you see in most stores, get free shipping, and try them on in the comfort of your home. Get an item that doesn’t fit? No problem, send it back for a full refund and shipping is free! For the record, this is not the only website that operates this way.  Now, seeing how easy it is to buy online, still think your first impression with a customer in your store is not critical to your success? Think again!

This initial customer greeting is your first date, the first dance, the infamous first impression!  Most likely your customer can buy what you’re selling from countless other stores or mediums.  You often times only get one chance at this, make it count.

In my years of retail leadership and service industry experience I have seen all extremes of what I like to call “The Greeting”; the good, the bad, and the ugly.  It’s often your first face to face interaction with your customer, it better be good and leave a solid positive impression of you and your brand.  Over time I have come to the realization that the best customer greetings have three key components.

1. Act with urgency. Your customers need to feel like you value them unconditionally.  This means acknowledge their entrance into the store within 5-10 seconds.  This should be a vocal acknowledgement such as “Welcome to *insert your business here*, how might we assist you today?”  (Some variant of this verbiage is fine). It is ever important that your customers feel as if they are being truly welcomed into your store.  Think of how you would greet visitors to your home.  This is no different.  Additionally there may be times when all of your staff is currently busy with customers.  It is still critical that someone takes a brief moment to acknowledge customers coming into the store. Letting customers know you see them, and will be available to serve them soon will go along way.

2. Have a positive attitude. This one is the most simple but the easiest to get wrong.  Attitude is everything.  If you and your team are having fun serving customers it’s easy for customers to pick this up in the atmosphere within your store.  Believe me they can tell which of your associates aren’t happy to be at work.  It is so important to greet customers with a smile; be warm, inviting, and genuine.  Attitude is contagious.  Which attitude do you want your customers to catch?

3. Follow up and check in. Often times it can take time to work through the customers you might currently have in your place of business.  Keeping a pulse on the customers that are waiting in queue will be critical to their satisfaction and add to the overall first impression.  Letting them know on a continued basis that someone will be with them shortly, and thanking them for their patience goes a long way.  This shows you did not forget about them and that they are still important to you.  Don’t miss this step, as it’s often easy to do.

In my experience using the aforementioned three components of the effective greeting will ensure that you lock up that critical first impression with your customers.  The greeting alone will not guarantee a sale, as it’s up to the rest of your sales process to close the deal.  However, a proper greeting will show your customers that you care about them and that you value the fact they took the time to choose your establishment to visit.

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