Keeping customers happy is vital to run a successful fuel station.
We’ve compiled a list of eight simple ways to keep your customers happy, resulting in a positive impact on your sales.
1. Customer is King
This age-old business mantra is great advice to make your customers feel important (and right, even when they’re not). South Africa is known for its friendly people. Fuel station owners and managers should capitalise on this by always encouraging employees to be friendly, and commending individuals when they are. A simple positive affirmation goes a long way to boost morale. And from a customer’s point of view, a mere smile and friendly greeting from a forecourt attendant or cashier can brighten up one’s day tremendously.
- Always encourage forecourt attendants and cashiers to smile and ask customers how they are doing.
- Encourage employees to notice details regarding their customers. For example, if a customer is wearing a Bafana Bafana shirt, the employee could ask if they’ve been watching Bafana’s recent games.
2. Lead by Example
It may seem strange that “Lead by Example” is a tip to keep customers happy, but most customers will improve their perception of your service station if they see owners and managers engaging with their customers, their business and treating their staff well. From a customer’s point of view, it is far too often that owners and managers of service stations seem less than interested in their customers. Building a relationship with customers will not only encourage them to return, but will encourage employees to follow your lead and engage with customers. Another advantage of chatting with customers is that you will learn to understand their needs. This is discussed further under number 3.
- Owners and managers should always greet customers in a friendly manner, ask them how they are doing and ask how you can assist them.
- Form relationships with customers to encourage them to return and to understand their needs.
3. Take Note and Stock Up
It may seem obvious that it’s important to keep your convenience store well stocked. But it’s worth taking an extra step. As discussed above, when you’ve built relationships with customers, it’s easy to find out from them if you’re stocking everything that they require.
- Make sure that the pricing of all your stock is clearly visible and that product labels are front facing.
- Ask customers what their favourite product is that you stock, or what you don’t have that they would like you to stock.
4. Store Cleanliness and Appearance
It is absolutely vital that your convenience store is always clean and well maintained. Customers value clean bathrooms at fuel stations, so ensure that they’re always clean and as modernised as possible.
- Customers, especially women, pay attention to detail. If you always keep fresh flowers in your bathrooms (particularly in the ladies’), this is sure to leave a lasting impression.
5. Outside Appearance
It is just as important to keep the outside of your fuel station looking good. Your canopy, driveway, outside of your building and your landscaping are the first things your customers and passing by traffic sees. It may not seem important, but it is worth going to the effort to establish a neat garden around your fuel station.
- Hire garden services to establish and maintain the garden around your fuel station. Implementing this small change will transform the appearance of your site.
6. Fuel Station Lighting
Having a well lit site will instantly make customers feel safe and comfortable, particularly at night and during the early morning.
- Simply install a few energy efficient spotlights in the darker areas of your site.
Always ensure that walkways around your fuel station are safe and unobstructed. Wherever possible, try and provide cover above walkways for those rainy days. If you’re doing some construction work or maintenance on your site, provide a safe and well signposted alternative walkway.
- Install an overhang above main walkways from the parking area to your convenience store.
8. Relevant Marketing
Make sure your marketing material in store is clearly visible and that it’s relevant to the people in your area. It is also important to run advertising campaigns off site to attract new customers or returning ones.
- Display your relevant marketing material clearly.
- Investigate off site advertising channels, such as digital marketing, to attract customers who are not yet on site.