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Spring has sprung! No matter where you are in the country, the change of seasons from winter to spring means the same thing: growth. When you think about growing your c-store business, the first thing you probably think of is growing your customer base. There are two ways to do this: 1) by attracting new customers, and 2) by creating more loyal customers.

Depending on your market and offerings, it can cost between four to 10 times more to attract a new customer than it does to get more business from existing customers. There’s no question, then, that a big part of your business strategy should be focused on growing customer loyalty.

What C-Store Customer Loyalty Is (and What It Isn’t)

April is Customer Loyalty Month, so now is the perfect time to evaluate your approach to customer loyalty. It might be time to shift your thinking about what does, and what does not, constitute loyalty. Think about it this way: C-store customer loyalty is not about customers being loyal to you. It’s about you being loyal to your customers. It’s about knowing who your customers are, what they want, and why they decide to choose you over the competition.

Who are your customers? Get to know your c-store customers on both a technical and personal level. Analyze your sales data to better understand the product trends that are attracting customers. Talk to customers one-on-one to get first-hand data about what they like and don’t like.

What do your customers want? Sure, most c-store customers probably want gas or lottery tickets or a quick snack. But what do they want that you’re not already offering? And beyond what products they want, how do they want to be treated? Survey your customers to find out.

Why do they choose you over your competition? Service is your invisible product. You might not be able to compete on location, prices, or variety. But you can always compete on service. Go back to the basics of customer service (and train your staff to the do the same) – learn and use customers’ names, make eye contact and smile to every customer, greet them when they walk in the door, and invite them back when they leave.

C-store customer loyalty doesn’t bloom from only one seed. It grows based on many factors that all start with you treating customers like people, not like sales numbers.

Customer service is the key to building c-store customer loyalty. Click here to check out the Customer Service online training module from Ready Convenience.