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How to Win Customer Loyalty with Great Business Etiquette

My favorite store Ann Taylor/Loft has filed for bankruptcy. This was my go-to store for ‘impressive’ working attire and classy casual wear ‘back in the day’.  Unfortunately, Ann Taylor/Loft is one of many businesses in the long line of casualties due to the tipping point of the Covid-19 pandemic.   Many would argue that they were already casualties of poor business practices or faulty models and this bankruptcy was inevitable, albeit sooner. Bankruptcy is actually an opportunity for organizations to better organize and run themselves in an era now wholly dominated by technology and online ‘foot’ traffic.  Yet, some operations are not so lucky and have had to instead closed out right. Agility and Collaboration Cause Businesses to Thrive: In these unprecedented times, brick-and-mortar operations—especially vulnerable retailers, recreation, restaurants, and hospitality sectors—are having to adapt and be agile to remain in business. Many are recreating and collaborating to support each other. We’ve seen this for example with the recently formed collaborative group  #CHOOSEBDA https://bernews.com/2020/07/video-community-urged-to-choosebda/. It does not matter if you started your business, like I did,  just before the pandemic shut down five months ago, or whether you have been in existence for many years: entrepreneurs instinctively want more than ever to thrive and make money.  One sure way to accomplish that, even in this new norm, is to improve and perhaps redefine the experience of your customers so you can stand out and drive profits your way. In this time of flux exceptional customer service is imperative to your business success. The Platinum Rule  I have been working directly with high profile clients for over 25 years and have harnessed the experiential data to support the adage that “people like doing business with people   they “.  It is true. And yes, it is that simple folks.  The world we know remains in crisis mode with unchartered waters but there are some things that have remained unchanged. Treating others how they want to be treated or serving your customers in such a way that they feel valued is a mainstay. And great etiquette observes that platinum rule.  Little did you know that great etiquette can in fact be the magic carpet to get you moving closer towards ‘wowing’ your customers and getting them to become loyal clients and advocates.   Great etiquette is more than ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ or being proficient at using your ‘knives and forks’. It is much deeper than that.  At its core, great etiquette is about knowing how to manage and conduct yourself on every level and putting people at ease all while building relationships. Knowing what to do and how to do it, in any situation, builds confidence. Decision makers are more likely to identify with and trust people who show respect and manners and are likely to respond similarly. That is a good thing.  With that established, here are two practical ways you can strengthen and grow your business/bottom line by demonstrating great business etiquette.
  1. Acknowledge customers’ presence by greeting them promptly and politely. This means smiling and ensuring your eyes are engaged and congruent with your smile.  Ensure that your words and your non-verbal communication are fully focused and aligned with the anticipated and expressed needs of the customer in front of you whether that is physically or virtually.
  1. Listen Well: This is a sign of respect to the client. It is also an opportunity to share your knowledge about your product in a way that addresses the specific need of the client. Customers have so many choices and with mere seconds to make a decision. Give them a reason to say ‘yes’ to your product and ‘yes’ to your service. Wow each customer when they are in your presence, so they want to come back. This is especially true for those businesses that rely heavily on physical face-to-face contact. The bottom line is that when customers feel ‘seen’ and ‘heard’ they will become advocates of your business.
  No matter the nature, size, or age of your business, when you serve others well you are memorable, the customer feels valued and the relationship is bonded for the long-term.  Why this matter?  Because we all want our business to thrive for the long-term and securing and maintaining the repeat customer is indeed the ultimate goal.  The positive experience of our customers or clients is the single most important trait of any business whether you are operating online or offline. Let Great Etiquette Impress Your Bottom Line:  When respect, consideration and decorum are demonstrated to each customer, it becomes easier to create and maintain positive lasting relationships. Your likability factor goes up! That is the outcome of great etiquette and that is just good business. So, go ahead and show great etiquette to your next customer and give them a reason to not only love your product or service, but to root for the success of your business. We can all agree that when we make great etiquette the way we ‘DO’ business, we set ourselves and our businesses up to operate with less friction and make the customers’ experience more positive, memorable and professional. That is how we win and keep the client. Remember, the way we ‘show-up’ impacts the bottom-line! If you want to learn how your business can raise its service to the next level then reach out to us at:  www.clarendonwallace.com to discover how coaching can help you. Lorene Phillips is the Founder of Clarendon Wallace, an executive coaching and leadership consulting firm. She is an Executive Coach & Etiquette Trainer, Facilitator, sought after Keynote Speaker and Author. With over 25-year track record of success as a business executive, Lorene engages her clients in practical real-world application that distinguishes her delivery from her peers. Lorene thrives in highly visible engagements with high performing individuals.  She empowers entrepreneurs and guides them through the steps needed to make an impact in their businesses. www.clarendonwallace.com     
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