8 Ways to Be Customer-Forward

The customer experience doesn’t begin with the sale; it begins when they walk in the door. In fact, there might not even be a sale—today, at least—but a customer’s experience can bring them back to do business with you later. Or, their word of mouth can bring in more customers.

Check out these eight basics that businesses should offer customers.

1. Place to Sit

There’s a reason for nearly every demographic to take a seat at some point. It could be a millennial who needs to focus on an urgent work email, a senior, a pregnant mother, someone holding a baby, a person with an injury or someone who is just had a long day. No matter the reason, you’ll lose them if they are just too uncomfortable to stay. Even if your business doesn’t require someone to wait, you’ll be offering a kindness with a few benches.

2. Helpful Signs

It doesn’t matter if the customer is looking for printer paper or junior-sized jeans—they’d like to find what they need. The same goes for finding a customer service counter, restrooms, dressing areas, shipping counter and order pick-up. Take time to check the visibility and quality of your signage starting in the parking lot. Promotions, specials and sales are pushed by having great point-of-purchase signage. Since those change often, have the ability to make those changes quickly in house by investing in sign materials, including art stencils and lettering aids to give you professional-looking signs fast.

3. Quench Thirst

Don’t lose customers over a sip of water. Once thirsty enough, they will rush a transaction or even leave the store. Provide a water fountain, water cooler or bottled water.

4. Ring for Help

Make it easy for shoppers to find assistance. If your service counter is not always manned, then offer a bell there. Place a few bells throughout your shop that invite customers to “ring for service” so they don’t have to hunt up and down aisles or march to the front for help.

5. Keep Order

It’s very frustrating for customers to wait for help only to have others get waited on first. If you have a busy season or a slew of customers, end frustration by offering numbers so you always know which customer was next. Another option is to have clearly marked lanes for checkout or assistance.

6. Safety First

Keep an eye out for safety issues. Start outside with plenty of lights. Meet them at the door with non-slip doormats to help prevent slips and falls. Keep aisles clear of merchandise and make sure there is plenty of space around freestanding displays—and make sure those displays are safely secured.

7. Be On a First Name Basis

Have your employees wear name tags. Doing so not only creates a friendly tone but makes it clear who to turn to for additional help, questions or even compliments for great service.

8. Online Service Matters

Being customer forward starts at your website or social media sites. It’s highly likely your customer checked out you or your goods first. Be sure your contact info is easily found on every page. Assign someone to frequently check emails and respond promptly.

Continue to be customer forward by asking what you can change. In fact, ask your customer “What could I do to make you more comfortable or to have had a better experience?”

As a business owner and professional organizer, Lea Schneider writes for The Home Depot about organizing your business and home for success. She gives actionable advice on a range of topics, from making unique decor using craft stencils, to creating an enjoyable atmosphere for your customers, to providing bells for quick customer assistance. To view a variety of art stencils that Lea talks about in this article, visit The Home Depot.

This article is editorial content that has been contributed to our site at our request, and is published for the benefit of our readers. We have not been compensated for its placement.