Delivering a consistent experience to your customer is a key part of convenience store management. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to go about this. By focusing on these areas, you can be sure you’re building your band positively, and delivering a consistent experience to your customers.
Define Your Brand
Before you can worry about appealing to customers, you must clearly establish your own brand identity. Part of establishing this identity comes from being able to answer the following questions:
As a store, what are your values?
How do you want to be seen?
What is the first thing you want people to think of when they imagine your business?
A crucial step in the convenience store management process is being able to answer these questions. Once you have your answers, focus your efforts on delivering on those answers consistently, even across multiple stores.
Focus on The Total Brand Experience
There are many things that go into delivering a consistent brand experience. But before you can expect to be consistent, it may be necessary to take a step back and see the forest for the trees. The total brand experience is an important process to understand and deliver on.
When thinking about your total brand experience, put yourself in the shoes of your customer and walk through their routine:
What are they shopping for? – A quick bite to eat? A cup of coffee?
Where might they look? - Is your store laid out in a way that makes sense?
What questions might they ask? – Identify key customer inquiries and how to resolve them
Delivering a positive total brand experience is achieved through the successful attention to a number of key areas. These include, but are not limited to:
Consistent store appearance. Including cleanliness and effective inventory management to ensure you always have what the customer is looking for
Quality control. Including any prepared or fresh foods, also including coffee and baked goods.
A well-trained staff. Your staff is of absolute importance.
Your Staff is Key
It should come as no surprise that your staff is the cornerstone of the brand experience. Quality control, store appearance, and even inventory management can all rest in the hands of the employees in some way, shape, or form. Because of this, your staff is at the frontline of delivering to your customers, the experience you want.
Work with your employees to be able to meet the challenge of customer service. In the end, a lot of the feelings a customer has about your store will depend on how they feel they are treated and cared for.
Roleplay customer scenarios with your employees. Send in secret shoppers to test them. Another effective way of building up a staff is to show them their individual register reports. These reports can show them their strengths and weaknesses, which in turn presents opportunities for further development.
A well-trained staff is the gatekeeper of a consistent brand experience. Your inventory management can be second to none. Your store can be so clean you can eat off of the floor. If your staff is ill prepared to deal with the fast-paced demands of the C-store industry, you’ll be falling short.