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BUSINESS: Chloe McGenn - What Loyalty Means To Me
Chloe McGenn is an award winning jewellery designer and here she tells us how she engages with her customers and develops customer loyalty to keep them coming back.
I like our shop to be the name on the lips of someone looking for that item – that perfect accessory for a night out, that gift for the impossible to buy for friend. If someone asks if I'll be in on a particular day because they're shopping and want me to help them pick something, I know I've done my job correctly - but how is this achieved?
'People like people' is the best advice I've ever been given. It doesn't matter how you feel, you have to be polite and engaging, but not overpowering. It seems simple, but it's actually a tricky balancing act between a customer feeling ignored, and feeling overwhelmed.
I try and treat the customer how I would like to be treated myself – that way you'll behave in the most natural way. I personally don't like being hounded by sales assistants, so I don't hound my own customers. I show that I'm available, by greeting them and smiling, wait a bit, and then engage a little more – perhaps asking if they need any help, or are looking for something in particular.
Even if you're lucky enough to work in a job like mine, where you're passionate about everything because you've made it yourself or know the person who has, you still need to wait for the right moment to speak more about it. I wouldn't dream of launching into the whole philosophy behind the jewellery I made just because someone picks up a piece – but if they ask more about it, then I know I can tell them.
Making a connection is vital – we're all quite proud of our own personal style, and customers love to know you've noticed something. I genuinely love accessories, so I often compliment someone's bag or necklace. It has the dual purpose of letting the customer know you like their style, so they might find something they like in your shop, as well as engaging them without resorting to a hard sell.
After they're comfortable, then you can try and find something they'd like to buy. It's a bit different to selling at a craft fair for example; there, you have to grab their attention immediately with how unique your product is before they vacate the relatively small space your table provides you.
I usually do something in the shop - make jewellery, write or draw in the shop at my desk. It helps in two major ways: you're not hanging over the customer, so they feel comfortable browsing, and it's also a potential conversation starter if they show in an interest in what you're doing.
Bad puns – most people like a stupid joke or bad pun. Obviously judge your audience, but a bad pun about an item someone is looking at can go a long way. For example, I have a ring in my shop which has a telephone on it. If anyone tries it on, I tell them it's called a 'Ring Ring'. Yes, it's crap, but (hopefully) you remember it.
A memorable experience in my shop is the main way I keep loyal customers. It's why I stock some odd stuffed toys, hang necklaces on a pink robot, have jelly belly air fresheners, and take care choosing shop music. I'm creating an experience for all the senses, to concrete the whole thing into the memory more effectively.
By the end of the day my cheeks hurt but I will smile at every single one of you. Not only will you feel more welcome, but I'm genuinely pleased to see every customer, especially in these hard economic times. SO I will show that to you all, even if it kills me.
Hopefully they'll remember that funny little shop, which smelt of sweets with a polite girl telling bad jokes – which also happened to sell lots of nice things which might make a good present.
Find Chloe's work at http://www.lifesbigcanvas.co.uk/