How improved customer service can drive more revenue from your gas station
It’s more than just the price of gas
Price is often the main priority for gas station owners. Competitive gas prices will attract customers to your forecourt, but enticing them into your store to buy higher margin items will have the most impact on your gas station revenue.
There are many factors that influence customer behavior, why they choose to come inside, and what they purchase. Here we’ll investigate how customer service can impact your revenue.
This is part of a series of blogs created to help gas station owners focus on more than just price to optimize their profits. Read part one here: “How cleanliness can help to drive more revenue from your gas station”.
The changing face of customer service
Customer service has always been an important part of a consumer’s experience. But in today’s society, it’s more important than ever.
The disruption caused by COVID-19 has impacted the retail and hospitality sector in unprecedented ways. The public are staying away from crowded areas and favoring online shopping and take-out options over in-store restaurant and retail experiences.
For many people, trips outside the house are limited and people are spending more time at home, with their families or support bubbles, rather than socializing and going outside. Your gas station or convenience store may be the only place your customers visit — and as such, the customer service they receive from you needs to be exceptional, now more than ever.
The human element of your offering can set you apart from your competition, elevate your reputation, and keep customers returning to your store.
In times when people are increasingly isolated — great customer service can evolve your store from a place people visit for convenience, to a place they visit for the experience. Making them feel welcome, valued, and appreciated will create loyal customers that stop in time after time.
Creating great customer service throughout your team can take time and perseverance. Here are our four top tips on what you can do to start making improvements today.
The human element
Focus on positive human interaction.
Although social distancing remains important, visitors to your store need human interaction. While we need to stay a safe distance away from each other, we can still engage in meaningful conversation. Gather your employees together and reinforce the importance of having conversations and building genuine relationships with the customers they serve.
- Use positive language
- Ask questions and engage in conversation
- Address customers by name if you can
The human element really is your greatest asset. Take some time to create or review your customer service guidelines and standards.
You can really harness the positive human interaction you’ve built to help drive profit by making sure your employees are well versed in the promotions you have on offer.
For example, if a customer buys a soda, the employee can recommend a bag of chips which is on offer. Knowing the promotions and tying them in with customer interaction is key in giving customers a positive experience — while also increasing sales.
Empower your staff
While we focus on positive language and portraying a friendly and inviting atmosphere, it’s inevitable that your staff may sometimes be asked challenging questions. If they aren’t able to answer them, both the staff member and the customer will be left with a negative experience.
Empower your team by giving them the knowledge they need to answer difficult questions and handle difficult scenarios.
Find out what questions they’ve been asked in the past, and situations they’ve been faced with that they didn’t know how to handle correctly. Create a “knowledge base” of the different scenarios and how to deal with them so that your staff are empowered to handle everything in a professional manner.
Providing your employees with the knowledge they need to handle difficult situations gives them a level of trust, and shows them that you value their contribution. It will help them in their personal development and will ensure that your stores are dealing with issues consistently.
Designate a champion
Assess your staff and the level of customer service they provide. Don’t dwell on the low performers — but celebrate the best customer service representatives you have. Choose a champion for each store who will help to create new customer service guidelines with you and can mentor and coach their colleagues.
Being a designated customer service champion will give your employee a morale boost, increase their level of responsibility, and elevate their own personal development. Empower the champion further by running an employee recognition award where they can select the colleague that is most improved or has offered the best level of customer service under their coaching. It may take time, but this will make sure that great customer service becomes part of your culture.
Reward your regulars
As an “essential service”, gas stations and convenience stores have been allowed to remain open throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic. Although it’s not been without its challenges — this puts gas stations in a unique position. To make the most of this special situation, get creative and reward your regulars.
Your staff will know who the most regular visitors to your store are. Create a long-lasting impression by rewarding these regulars with exclusive offers. It can be something as simple as a free drink to say “thank you”, or something more creative like a special invite only event inside the storeo test out a new product or give feedback on changes in your store.
Maybe your regulars are only coming in because you’re their local store — but if you reward their loyalty and make them feel valued, they may just become your best promoters.
For the past 40+ years, Kalibrate has helped gas station and convenience store owners to maximize their profit potential. If you’re planning to open a new site, or make changes to an existing site, Kalibrate’s Single Site Analysis will give you:
- Multiple detailed projection analyses
- Local area demographics
- Market share analysis
- Competitor outlet analysis
- Local area site fuel volumes
- Convenience store, quick service restaurants, and car wash sales opportunities
- Benchmarking against all 7 Elements for Fuel and Convenience Retail Success
To help you understand how to make the most of your site potential
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