Continued from Part 1
Customer service is an area no adult novelty store should neglect. Neglecting excellent customer service is like turning down good money. Many places promise good customer service but in the end few businesses are willing to stand behind their slick slogans when the going gets tough - and in retail, it always gets tough eventually, and it always will: Are you going to make your adult store a permanent source of income? Then you better get ready to learn the C's of customer service: concern, consideration, commitment and conscientiousness.
1. Concern: You must actually care about your customer's wants and needs not just her or his money. If you care about your customer you are going to be open to seeing what he or she wants, what her or his experience is actually like in relation to your adult store that will in turn provide a more robust experience to the end-user. If you sincerely care about your customers' wants and needs and carry that message in all that you do, it will generate valuable good well as well as provide you an excellent position to complete ongoing SWOT (strength-weakness-opportunity-threat) analyses of your market segment.
2. Consideration: In an increasingly over-saturated market, sometimes the difference between you and the next guy is simple consideration. Your customer deserves the same kind of old-fashioned consideration that she or he would have gotten at the family-run store down the street. Your adult store should do all that it can to promote its core values even if you are tired, over-worked and under-staffed. Customers appreciate being treated considerately each and every time they make contact with your store.
3. Commitment: To maintain peak customer service you must make a commitment to doing all you can to meet every want and need of your customers, day in and day out. Customer service isn't something you do once and then forget about it. It requires a serious commitment to your customers and to your adult store. Just like working on increasing your site's traffic and making the perfect banner, you have to commit to providing for your customers' every need and desire because if you don't then someone else will.
4. Conscientiousness: It is always important to establish credibility with your customers. As we discussed earlier one of the ways anyone can do that with their novelty store is by being truthful and upfront with your customers. Another way is by being conscientious. If you advertise a "one day only sale," it better be a twenty four hour sale, because nothing will destroy credibility faster than those heinous marketing lies. Do what you promise and in the time frame you promised. Handling each transaction like your life depends on it is a good rule of thumb because your life does depend on it - or at least the life of your adult store.
Much has been written about marketing to consumers yet many ignore the basic rules of Internet marketing. Your adult store has the opportunity of turning itself into a stand-out, simply by the way it markets itself to the masses. It goes without saying that spam is a pretty poor way to build customer retention and will not likely give you the ROI (return-on-investment) you're hoping to see. Part of the writing you employ in your marketing is a form of marketing and a way to build brand-appeal of your adult store. Badly written and poorly thought-out marketing can naturally drive people away.
The seven C's of marketing can provide any adult store with a guide they can follow with reasonable confidence when establishing brand-loyalty and customer retention. Your site should be more than a catalog of the latest sexual technology; it should paint an over-all picture of your own ethos. Take every chance that you can get to reinforce your store's philosophy, and you will reap the rewards you so richly deserve. Meanwhile, offer your adult store customers:
1. Control: Your customers want to decide if they receive your newsletter or not, visit your site voluntarily or not, see the flash version of your store or view simple html. Opt-out must always be an easy option or you risk the wrath of consumer scorn which does not boost your bottom line.
2. Choice: Give the consumer a choice and you give your consumer the power of preference. Mention you have choices for every sort of customer who might visit you. Organize choices logically and deliberately and you're that much closer to building good will and loyalty for your brand. Never underestimate the seductive sway of personal empowerment and quality choices.
3. Continuity: It is important to provide the same message over all your channels every single time. Continuity builds cohesiveness and helps build message retention. Decide what your business' most important core competency is and reinforce it over and over again.
4. Comfort: Your consumer has to be made comfortable by your message. Bypass the cacophony of bad design and create an adult store that offers comfort in formatting fundamentals and perfect alignment with his or her lifestyle choices. This requires you know who your customer is and what he or she wants. To be able to communicate with your customers requires not only that you ask the right questions but that you truly listen to the answers.
5. Communication: To be able to communicate with your customers requires not only that you ask the right questions but that you truly listen to the answers. Communication is an ongoing conversation not a one-sided exercise where you blast out a message regardless of how that message is received. Communication requires the participation of your audience, so you need to seduce them into becoming a part of that conversation.
6. Community: Build cooperative alliances when it makes sense for you to do so and offer your customers not just a way to purchase novelties or books but a way to become connected to the living breathing synergy that is a vibrant Internet community. Symbiosis is always the goal - provide them with what they need and want so they provide your store with what it needs to grow.
7. Consumer Education: Like all forms of marketing consumer education is a matter of educating your customers to help them make the best decisions for their individual circumstances and hopefully through that process your adult store will learn how to better satisfy your customer base. Consumer education is one of the most powerful forms of marketing because it establishes your legitimate expertise in the field you represent and it helps eliminate the costs of returns and exchanges which are always higher when little or no consumer information is available.
Hopefully this guide will help you to see the many facets and often overlooked factors that are involved in successfully presenting your products and services to your customers. Good luck!