Your business is constantly changing. Unfortunately, this is often confusing for long-time and return customers.
Since your business is often built on the backs of loyal, return customers, you need to make sure they always get a smooth transition when you make changes.
Customer-facing changes to your business come in many varieties. You need to prepare your customers for price changes, inventory changes, and retail store remodels. Any time the customer experience will change from what the customer saw the last time, you need to reduce confusion and help the customer succeed.
Our local grocery store recently remodeled their entire store. Entire sections of food moved to opposite corners of the store. This was a drastic change and a potentially devastating hit to the return customers that were acustomed to the previous layout.
How did the grocery store deal with the change and help customers?
When I turned the corner with my shopping cart, I saw an employee with a bright yellow shirt. The shirt had, in large letters, the words: “Need help? Ask me.”
As soon as I made eye contact with this roaming helper, she asked me what she could help me find. I told her what I was looking for and she walked with me and showed me where the product was now located.
These roaming helpers were in the grocery store for several weeks during and after the remodel. Every time I saw one they were either helping a fellow customer or asking me if I needed assistance.
The grocery store understood that change is hard for customers and that they needed to ease the transition.
Changing any aspect of your business can literally scare away your customers. You want to maintain the relationships you’ve created and help customers adjust to the new reality.
For businesses where you see the customer face-to-face, try having a “roaming helper” like the grocery store. For online businesses, try how-to videos, announcement emails, clear step-by-step instructions, and easily accessible support help (via email, forum, phone, social media, etc.).
Help your customers deal with change and they’ll stick with you through the transition and beyond.