By Mark Landiak
How many competing wireless stores do you have within a mile radius of you? Chances are there is at least one (if not a handful more). The wireless market reached 100 percent saturation back in 2013 and has continued to expand in volume. This means that while the vast majority of the population already possesses one wireless device (along with a set of complementary accessories), there is a growing portion of that sample that now functions daily with two or more. As a result, the practical focus is no longer on getting new activations through technical differentiation. Instead, the focus has shifted towards cultivating brand loyalty and retaining repeat customers by tending consistently to their needs.
Customer retention (or brand loyalty if you prefer) is vital to maintaining long-term profitability for independent wireless resellers.
Increased competition and fewer differences between carriers effectively means your wireless store's reputation is your only sustainable competitive advantage. Establishing your store (both employees and management) as the most knowledgeable, the most helpful, and the most professional in your respective area is imperative. An increased ability to transplant business means it's more important than ever to extend your focus on caring for the customer long-term and cultivating a sense of loyalty in both real and virtual/digital spaces (see Omnichannel Wireless Marketing).
Loyalty begins at the point your customer interacts with your store (and vice versa). Here are some best practices and pointers to optimize that experience:
Keep your store clean. The first one is easy. A clean store is a welcoming store. Wash your windows and glass displays and make sure everything visual is on-brand. Make sure all interior and exterior repairs are up to par. Your cleanliness will stand out and will encourage repeat business.
Greet the customer as soon as they walk in to make them feel welcome. Even if you are with another customer at the time, it is important to acknowledge the new entry's presence and make them feel a readiness (even eagerness) to have their needs met.
Ask open-ended questions. It's important that the customer feels encouraged to share their wireless experience with us (and do so on their own accord). Let the customer talk about what is relevant to them in a wireless device. Doing so will help to uncover their needs and provide direction for the conversation. That said, it's important to be mindful that a customer typically doesn't want to be in your wireless store any longer than they require.
Base your recommendations on what the customer needs. This is perhaps the most difficult of these measures. There's a good chance that your customer has already researched your products & services before they've even entered your wireless store. It is easy to let our recommendations get clouded by our own biases. Don't settle for the first recommendation that comes to mind. Be a facilitator for the transaction and pick your spots to probe into the customer's needs. Ask about their daily routine and what they use their wireless device for throughout the day.
Your customers have a lifetime value in their commitment to your wireless brand. Customer activations will necessitate the purchase of accessories and add-ons, but only as long as your customers trust your skill and expertise enough to fulfill their needs. Retention and loyalty are thus a matter of customer experience. Your customers must feel better about researching & entering your wireless store than any other.
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