Converting Complaining Customers to Loyal Customers

No one likes dealing with complaining customers. However, one of the rules of retail is that customers are always right – even when they are technically wrong. Complaints are bound to come up no matter the kind of business you run, but how you deal with them is what determines if your customers will stay, how long they will stay or if they will leave. Want to learn how to convert complaining customers to loyal customers? Below are some tips to help you deal with these as gracefully as possible.

two hands in a handshake. converting comlaining customers to loyal customers

1. Put Aside Your Feelings

The feeling to act all defensive is quite normal when customers complain about your products and services, but try not to bring up arguments to counter theirs and defend your business. You must listen to complaints, and try to see ways in which you can satisfy every customer no matter how difficult or somewhat impossible it may be. If the customer is already aggrieved about the situation, being defensive will only tick them off a tad more. Try not to take offense. Rather, allow them to vent, then you either proffer a solution to the problem or promise to find one as soon as possible.

 

2. Apologize

A wise person once said” Apologizing does not always mean that you are wrong and the other person is right. It just means that you value your relationship more than your ego. “. As a retailer, your goal is to have your customers walk away feeling like you genuinely appreciate them. Let them know you are sorry and will work to provide a better experience for them shortly.

 

3. Don’t Challenge their Complaint

Oftentimes when customers come with a complain, it takes genuine effort not to tell them they are wrong. Especially when they are truly wrong, you are not expected to show this, as it won’t help in diffusing the pent-up anger the customer has. The best solution in such a situation is to listen to them and offer support.

 

4. Assess the Situation 

The more information you have about the cause of the complaint, the more easily you can help to resolve it. It will give you a better understanding of the situation, as well as demonstrate your impartiality. 

 

5. Offer Resolution

After getting your customers’ viewpoint, the next step is to get them to identify how the situation could be changed. Solicit their ideas, then move forward by Identifying solutions both of you can support.

 

6. Offer Support

Support comes in a variety of ways. It could be in the form of finding solutions to your customers’ complaints promptly, exchanging defective products with new ones or simply just listening to them and paying attention to their complaints. The ability to listen to your customers is key. This will enable you to understand their point of view and give you a holistic assessment of their needs and wants

 

7. Be Flexible

Flexibility is very essential to a resolution process. If no resolution is available to make your customers happy, flexibility is very important. Situations often differ as no two customers can act alike. Consider how else you can turn the negative interaction into a positive one.

 

8. Thank them

The old saying “kill them with kindness” could not be truer in a situation with a customer complaining. As odd as it sounds to thank a complaining customer, know they’re helping your business by pointing out flaws you may have overlooked. The complaints might be with a product, long wait lines, check out issues, or even parking space. Customers pointing these out allows you to improve your process. So rather than faking a smile, genuinely let them know you appreciate that they shared their complaints and concerns with you.

 

9. Follow Up

After the dust has settled, it is always advisable to reach out to the customer 24-48 hours after the complaints have been made, to find out if the solution worked for them. This shows them you genuinely care. It also suggests you have their complaints at the top of your mind. Be sure to request their contact details from them so you can use them later.

 

10. Move On

Ultimately, remember that complaints are inevitable as you can’t please everyone. So try not to dwell on customers’ complaints at the detriment of other business needs. As retailers, it is best to have a plan to help navigate how to handle customer’s complaints seamlessly. Address the situation, assess how to avoid it in the future, then move on to running your business.

 

Finally, dealing with angry customers and customer complaints can be frustrating for retailers. This, however, is an inevitable part of operating a business. That being said, if you can take up customer complaints with some of these strategies paired with genuine empathy, it is possible to turn seemingly complaining customers to loyal customers.

Augmented and Virtual Reality in Retail

We live in a fast-paced world where new technologies emerge every year, making our lives easier and luxurious. The retail industry is also constantly evolving to meet customers’ ever-changing expectations. A more recent trend is the use of Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR) in retailing today. Imagine a scenario where one can experience and interact with a product before it is bought despite being several miles away from where it is sold. Fascinating, isn’t it?

So, what is Augmented and Virtual Reality? 

Virtual Reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that it looks real. It is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. 

Augmented Reality, on the other hand, is a combination of real and virtual (computer-generated) worlds. It is a type of virtual reality that aims to duplicate the world’s environment on a computer. Its goal is to create a system in which the user cannot tell the difference between the real world and the virtual augmentation of it.

How does this connect with Retailing? 

By now it is no news that the retail industry has been subject to an increasingly quick pace of change with waves of new and exciting developments throughout its history. With this new technology, AR and VR, you will expect that its biggest impact will be online shopping, but as we’ll see, it is also changing the in-store experience. Some of the most creative applications of VR have 

mixed the real world with the virtual world.

In-store VR

VR can be used to make the in-store experience much more compelling and interesting for the customer and add real, tangible benefits for the retailer. For example, Marks & Spencer, in collaboration with its agency Mindshare created a pop-up virtual-reality showroom that took around key homeware locations in Leeds and London. This pop-up allowed consumers to drag and drop items from its high-end LOFT homeware range to create what the company described as “their ideal living space”. 

VR and Online Retail

Online retailing with VR allows customers to create a much more immersive and engaging experience that mimics those of physical retail stores, as well as adding enhancements that are not even possible in the real world. Chinese shopping giant Alibaba.com introduced a system called Buy+. Buy+ is a shopping platform that allows customers to browse, not only a department store but a recreated part of New York City around it – getting a cab from Times Square to a version of Macy’s. That’s an interesting part of VR, those who use it do not have to copy the real world. 

Nigeria is not left behind in the adoption of these technologies. There are already a few stores offering various VR services, though still majorly into gaming and other fun activities. It is only a matter of time before stores find a way to embed it into their services.

What could VR do for your store?

The thing with retail business is that it doesn’t need VR & AR solutions to be profitable. With VR and AR in retail, it is the customer experience that matters. It is about building brands associated with quality, care, and a wide range of options. Virtual and augmented reality can help to do just that: reshaping the industry to fit the latest trends and stay modern. 

The benefits of VR and AR in retailing (some of which have already been stated above) are limitless. We have however outlined some of them for you in this article.

  • Improve Customer Engagement:

    Augmented and Virtual Reality solutions vastly improve customer engagement and involvement, be it in-store or from the comfort of their homes. With the increased ability of customers in-store navigation and easy accessibility to products, customers can find shopping exciting which will ultimately boost sales for the business. Customers can get detailed information by looking at the product as they would in a store, using virtual and augmented reality technologies. 

  • Increase Customer Satisfaction:

     A happy customer is a returning customer. The likelihood of a customer to return to the retailer in the future if they have a pleasant experience while shopping for the first time is very high. It will also boost sales as the customer is equally likely a potential customer. The chances of product returns are also very low. All these help boost sales and keeps the retail shops ahead in the highly competitive market. 

  • Enable New Marketing Methods:

     AR and VR can prove to be excellent tools for marketing. They provide engaging and intuitive content for digital marketing as they are a good avenue of marketing on social media sites. The current marketing strategies provide only information about products to the user. AR and VR can provide an engaging advertisement option that evokes interest in the user, making them more likely to check out the product. 

  • Reduces Noise and Crowded Stores:

     This is one big hurdle traditional in-store sellers face regularly. AR and VR help cut through the noise of in-store retailing and crowded stores as customers are engaged in trying out products or getting information firsthand using AV and VR.

In Conclusion

The most appealing part of the implementation of VR & AR in Retail Business is the fact that these technologies offer an entirely new aspect to work with. Currently, both technologies are barely extending and expanding traditional services in a variety of ways. Yet this is only the beginning. Businesswise predicts that the market for AR and VR technologies will reach $60.55billion and $34.08billion by 2023 respectively. 

AR and VR technologies will see to better customer experience, reduced cost and increased efficiencies in retail. The retail industry in Nigeria is a big one given the huge population of the country, and with AV and VR the future of retail is indeed promising.

Restaurant/Bar POS Equipment Checklist

Image result for cactus restaurant lagos - restaurant/bar pos equipmentOpening a Restaurant/Bar can be a whole new challenging experience. You think of the theme, size, concept and the type of equipment to put together amongst other things. Most times, due to the pressure of trying to meet different deadlines, there are tendencies to leave until the last minute important things such as a Restaurant/Bar POS equipment to manage your sales and inventory. An efficient Point of Sale (POS) system is very key to a well-managed and successful restaurant. Below is a list of the basic Restaurant/Bar POS equipment you need for the effective running of your restaurant/bar.

  1. Touch Screen POS Terminal: Touch screen monitors are an essential part of the restaurant POS systems. Not only does it house the essential POS Software, but the touch technology in these systems also allows cashiers to process customers’ orders more efficiently, as it saves time and reduces clutter in the POS area.
  2. Cash Drawer: Cash drawers are a secure way to store cash, cheques, order slips, and pos receipts. The cash drawer opens when an electrical signal tells it to release a latch. The receipt printer linked to the cash drawer sends the signal. POS systems allow linkage with a cash drawer which ensures that all transactions are recorded, reducing theft.
  3. Pole Displays: These are used to show customers transaction information such as itemized price per food or drink ordered, specific items being rung up or the total amount due to such customer. Another name for it is the customer display.
  4. Receipt Printer: There are two known choices when it comes to receipt printers. There are  They are both useful at different places in your Restaurant/Bar. Dot matrix and thermal printers have their advantages and disadvantages. Dot Matrix (or “impact”) printer is mostly recommended for the back of the house (Kitchen) and bar environment due to its louder printing process. They are used as label printers for take-out orders, table management, and more. They are situated in the kitchen for receiving food orders made by customers on the restaurant floor and at the bar for receiving drink orders for the barman to prepare. When chefs and barmen are overwhelmed as a result of unending orders, they most likely will not notice a new slip show up in the printer. The loud noise the impact printers make helps to avoid such a problem as it catches their attention when there is a new order. The thermal printer is mostly recommended for the front of the house (Cash Points). They are used to print out the transaction receipt to the customer. Thermal printers are faster than ink printers and also make less noise. These receipt printers don’t use ink, instead they “burn” the paper with thermal heat. An advantage of this is that there is no need to waste time swapping ink cartridges.
  5. POS Software: A POS software is very fundamental for every hospitality business because, not only does it have you operating at peak performance, it helps your staff meet customers’ demands. The software maintains accurate data on products, pricing, customers, promotions employees, discounts, and payment methods. It also dispenses accurate reports for end-of-day and performance over time.

When getting a POS Software for your Restaurant/Bar, you need to get a solution that best fulfills your operational needs. Below are some of the factors to consider when getting a POS software:

  •  The type of restaurant – is it a fast-food restaurant, an a-la-carte restaurant or both. 
  • The type of menu items served.
  • The number of transactional points in the restaurant/bar (cash points, ordering points – mobile or immobile, kitchen, bar).
  • The number of outlets/branches/sections.
  • Specific hardware considerations.
  • The network connectivity.
  • The level of after-sales support needed.

Benefits of getting Restaurant/Bar POS Equipment.

  1. Handles your orders and payments efficiently: Most POS systems process credit cards which make it secure for businesses and customers.
  2. POS systems monitor every penny of your sale, drastically reducing employee theft. 
  3. Manages customer loyalty and helps in identifying customers for loyalty rewards
  4. POS systems record and keep data that can be used to make informed decisions as to staff bonuses, menu pricing, and menu popularity.
  5. Simplifies communication amongst front-office and back-office staff, as orders from the front go through the ordering point directly to the kitchen/bar printer. 
  6. A POS system also helps with payroll, profits, losses and sales tax.

Inventory Management Techniques for Business Growth

In this article, we will be revealing the techniques required for the effective management of your inventory. The article will help you understand why Inventory Management is important for the growth of your business and how taking steps to effectively manage your inventory is what positions your business for profit-making.

What is Inventory Management?

Inventory management encompasses all the processes involved in the ordering and storing of raw materials and finished products. It involves the warehousing and processing of such items. Primarily, the goal of inventory management is to minimize the cost of holding goods by helping business owners know the right time to stock or restock on their goods.

man in a warehouse holding a device for inventory management

Why Is Inventory Management important?

Effective inventory management is essential because it requires you to keep tabs on goods by monitoring their weight, amount, and even location. 

Here are some reasons why inventory management is important:

  1. Helps to ensure you never run out of stock: One of the key roles inventory management plays is figuring out how much inventory your store should always have on hand. Too much will leave you at the risk of storing “Dead Stock” i.e. outdated stocks. Too little and you run the risk of running out of stock, thereby failing to meet customers’ demands and thus missing out on potential opportunities.
  2. It helps you avoid spoilage: Stocking on products that have short expiry dates (such as consumables or makeup) leaves you with the possibility of having a lot of expired products that you won’t be able to sell. Proper inventory management will ensure you never get into this situation.
  3. It shows a variance in your customer’s behavior: Keeping track of what inventory sells the fastest versus what sells the least can share vital insights on your customers’ buying pattern. You can also gauge the effectiveness of some product promotion and launches by accessing inventory levels before and after the promotion period.
  4. Helps you spend less on storage: Warehousing is often a variable cost, meaning it fluctuates based on how much product you’re storing. When you store too much product at once, your storage costs will go up. Avoiding this will save you money.
  5. Inventory management improves cash flow: When you have a concrete inventory system, you’ll know exactly how much product you have and based on sales you can project when you’ll run out thereby making sure you replace it on time. Not only does this help ensure you don’t lose sales, but it also lets you plan for buying more so you can ensure you have enough cash set aside.

Inventory Management Techniques

Inventory management often differs for different businesses. So it should essentially be modified and customized to suit each business.

Businesses should strive to remove human error from inventory management as much as possible. This means taking advantage of Inventory management software like the Omega Software or ICG Software. 

The following techniques will help you improve your inventory management:

1. First-In-First-Out (FIFO)

“First-in first-out” or FIFO simply means your oldest stock (first-in) gets sold first (first-out), as opposed to your newest stock. This is especially important for perishable and expirable products, so you do not end up with spoilt products. Practicing FIFO for non-perishable products is also advisable because packaging designs often change over time. You do not want to end up with goods you can not sell because it has gone obsolete.

2. Set Par levels/Reorder Points: 

Par level is the minimum quantity of each product that must be on hand at all times. When your stock drops below the par level, you know it is time for you to reorder. This technique makes inventory management easier. Inventory reorder vary by products and is essentially based on how quickly the items sell. Setting a par level requires some upfront analysis such as the time it takes for your supplier to deliver your products. It is advisable to check your par level from time to time especially before peak times like holidays. During peak times, it is recommended to hold a safety-stock in the event of a heavy spike in demand or unforeseen circumstances.

3. Manage relationships: 

Creating a business relationship with suppliers and manufacturers helps you communicate your needs. Great relationships with suppliers will make them more than willing to work with you to solve problems that may arise with ordering or delivery. When this kind of relationship exists, suppliers will be willing to collect slow-selling items and replace them for other fast-moving items.

4. Regular Auditing:

Regular stock reconciliation is vital. In most cases, businesses rely on their software to know how much product you have in stock. However, it’s important to make sure the facts match up. It is recommended to take a physical count of all stocks periodically such as once a year. You can also consider spot-checking i.e. choosing a specific product, counting it and comparing the number to what it is supposed to be. It is, however, advisable to spot check fast-moving products.

5. Accurate forecasting: 

The ability to accurately predict future demands plays a huge part in a good inventory management system. Understanding market trends, knowing what promotions will draw customers in, etc., will help you in accessing your future sales accurately.

6Use of software:

Get software (such as ICG) that is designed to help manage your inventory. This helps you avoid losing money, drop in stock levels or having unsold products. It can also help automate some of the techniques above, saving you time and potential human error.

 

In conclusion, an effective inventory management system will help

  • reduce costs
  • keep the profitability of your business high 
  • help analyze sales patterns
  • predict future sales 
  • and prepare your business for unpredicted challenges 

Take charge of your inventory management by using the above techniques and watch your business grow remarkably. 

Customer Loyalty Program; A Way to Improve Customer Relationship

MOBILE HONE SHWING COUPON BASED CUSTOMER LOYALTY SYSTEM

For a business to succeed you need the right amount of people to be interested in the goods on offer or the services you render. Asides training your staff members on providing good customer service, having a good customer loyalty program is another way to improve your customer relationship.

Customers are the backbone of any thriving business. They are often regarded as the most important part of the business. Having no customer means there will be no brand or business. Thus it is important to always treat them right. Good customer service is about forming a good relationship with customers and sending them away happy – happy enough to give positive feedback about your business along to others. Having good customer service and an effective customer loyalty program show the customers that they rank high on the minds of the business owners.

What is Customer Loyalty?

 When a customer is devoted to a brand or product of a company, such customers can be said to be loyal. Customer Loyalty can, therefore, be called “the willingness of your customer to always patronize your products”. So, how does a company get to a stage where it has loyal customers? There are three important things a business should do to create loyal customers. These three things are; 

  • A wow experience: Blow their minds on their first visit and they will always return
  • A high level of satisfaction: Ensure that the product or service you sell to them is of the utmost top quality
  • Value for Money: Your product may be expensive; that’s not a problem. What will be seen as a problem is when your customers can’t measure the amount paid for such products with the benefits they derive from such a product.

Benefits of Customer Loyalty

Mastering the art of customer loyalty is a crucial component of business success. Here are some benefits a loyalty program can bring to your business.

  • Nurture meaningful relationships: this will help to stand the test of time and repel attacks from your competition.
  • loyal customers can become advocates of your brand: Apart from returning to you time and again, they are likely to recommend your products to their friends, relatives, and even strangers at times. This is because your potential customers are more likely to trust the recommendations of existing users.
  • A good loyalty program can transform a business into a customer-focused profit machine. Customers spend more on brands they’re loyal to.

Types of  loyalty programs you can use for your business

1. The Spend Program: This allows customers to get loyalty cards based on the amount the customer has spent on the business.

2. Tier Program: The Tiered loyalty program allows customers to enjoy permanent perks and benefits depending on their tier, the competitive spirit in customers are raised by attaching higher-value rewards & benefits to the top tiers and implementing different reward mechanisms per tier.

3. A simple points-based system: This system makes use of discounts and price coupon. 

4. The Point Program:  Loyalty point programs let customers acquire points that can be redeemed for rewards or free products/services.

5. The Paid Program: Paid loyalty programs provide an exclusive feel by integrating a monthly or yearly fee that members pay for access to special services, and VIP benefits. It is often termed the VIP Program.

6. Partner Program: This involves partnering with another company to provide all-inclusive offers. It facilitates the building of new business relationships.  

TWO FEMALES SMILING AFTER RECEIVING EXTRA POINTS VIA CUSTOMER LOYALTY PROGRAM

Already have a Customer Loyalty System? Here is how to Improve it

When executed well, a loyalty program can be a driving force for increased customer patronage and more. If you have an existing customer loyalty program, some important things can help you improve on the system you already have in place. Some of these things are;

  • Communicating with the right customers: know the right audience to approach with a particular product. 
  • Rewarding non-transitional behavior; e.g., gifts for referrals.
  • Modifying your loyalty program based on feedback from customers: You can tailor your promotion based on demographics, product preference, and buying habits.
  • Using your social media page to alert people of your new customer loyalty program.
  • Putting time limit incentives so customers can act before it’s too late.
  • Using messaging tools and social media to remind your customers about your customer loyalty program.

A loyal customer will most likely spend much more than the average client. This is why a well thought out plan is important. A well thought out customer loyalty program will help you concentrate on your existing customers, extend the period for which they remain your customers, and ultimately help foster a solid relationship that will leave them satisfied. 

Using POS Software to Generate reports: How effective?

Running a successful business requires you to consider many things: you need to identify your target market, know your competitors, learn from the competition and manage your finances properly. To manage your finances properly, you need a constantly updated report to have proper information on how your business is faring and know areas you need to improve on. The Point of Sales (POS) software comes with a reporting feature that allows business owners to generate reports based on the data gathered by the software. These reports are designed to help make better and informed decisions compared with when such information is not available. The information produced by these reports is often detailed and covers a wide area. 

pos software report temlate image

With a POS software, you can spool reports relating to sales, payments, collections, employee, inventory, and customer. A sales report, for example, will cover the name of the customer, type of goods bought, the number of items bought, amount paid, etc. While the inventory report will have the number of goods in stock before and at the end of the period requested. Other examples of information which can be gotten from a POS report are most popular items sold, the mean, median and mode of the goods bought, change in inventory, current inventory, number of promotional transactions (e.g. transactions using coupons, gift cards, sales, special offers, etc.), individual customer loyalty statistics and so on. These reporting functions offer limitless potential in analyzing one’s business data, overall customers’ experience, and loyalty, etc. It is also a good way to get an unbiased report on what is happening at the cash point.

You can come up with an array of reports using the POS software such as detailed invoices, tax, and user-defined reports. You can also customize all of these to suit your preference. 

Cutting edge POS software makes data available to licensed remote users allowing managers and owners to pull data into a comprehensive, detailed report from any location with an internet connection. An example is ICG Analytics.

What you can do with these reports 

Sales Report: The POS reporting feature gives an extensive report on sales such as profit of the day, sales by POS stand, sales by individual employee, and your busiest/ slowest hours. it also generates detailed reports that identify not only your best-selling items and categories but also show costs and gross margin so that you can measure the effectiveness of your pricing.

Track your Inventory: POS reports let you access all your inventory with full precision and ease, these reports help to reveal if your sales match the stock listed and will help you see if products are missing. 

Employee Management: With the POS reporting feature you can track your employees’ progress and shortcomings. Wondering if your employees are working effectively? by running a simple report on employee’s performance you can see which employee is meeting their KPIs and which is slacking off.

Customer Loyalty Reports: Sometimes you wonder how often your best customers shop? What kind of product do they tend to favor when they come? Etc. All of these can be gotten in a Customer Loyalty Report. It is no secret that the better you know your customers, the more loyal they’ll be. Identifying their buying habits also help you communicate your new stock to the right people.

How Effective is POS Reporting?

  • It helps you detect fraud. 
  • It saves you the time, money and energy you would otherwise have spent trying to fix the mistakes an employee made.
  • It keeps you updated with your daily cash-flow activities, which can come in handy when preparing a management report at the end of the week or month. It also allows you to see how you are measuring up to short-term goals, allowing you to address problems as they arise, rather than after the fact. 

In Conclusion

The POS software reporting feature is very beneficial to the growth of your business because not only does it assist with sales management, it extends to the general management of your business activities.