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It goes without saying that customers are the lifeblood of any business. Keep them happy and they’ll keep coming back — and you will be prosperous.
So, the question is: How? For one, price is always an important part of the equation, yes, and it’s one that fuel stations in particular have traditionally made the central focus of their business proposition. But it’s not the only one.
If you own or operate a convenience store or fuel station, there are ways to go beyond price as your sole selling point. There are several strategies I see successful fuel stations and convenience stores using to change how people see them — and why customers keep returning to them.
FOCUS ON EXPERIENCE
Customers may come into your store or station because of your prices, but they’ll come away remembering your business for the little things you did right — or the little things you got wrong.
For instance: Did your fuel nozzle have a hold-open clip or did the customer need to stand the whole time with their hand on the nozzle? Was the fuel pumping too slowly into the vehicle? Was the dispenser or credit card reader unavailable or bagged off?
These things matter to customers. Focus your efforts on improving the experience of how you deliver your products and they’ll notice. Make sure the forecourt experience is pleasant, and your customers will be more likely to return often.
By installing up-to-date fuel system monitoring technology and paying attention to the test results and alarms it generates, you can tackle most issues before they impact customers. This also gives you the information you need to schedule preventative maintenance and avoid frustrating and costly equipment downtime.
Addressing problems proactively keeps your fuel system running at its peak efficiency for your customers.
CREATE A MORE EFFICIENT OPERATION
The best way to focus on better serving your customers is to streamline your logistical operations and make them more efficient. Find a way to quickly manage your fuel inventory and you can be more attentive to the little things that can make a big difference to your customers. As you know, most of your customers are in a hurry.
It’s here that technology can be a real game-changer. From automated equipment and management technology to cloud-based analytics, there’s no shortage of new innovative solutions. The tools are available for you to free yourself of time-consuming tasks that involve manual tracking and calculations.
Choosing a proven partner that can help you solve your many challenges with time-tested, industry-proven solutions is important. The goal is to keep your site running efficiently, so be sure to consider whether your partners can provide the level of support needed.
Don’t spend time constantly checking and monitoring multiple gauges when that task could easily be done with a computer and smartphone. Don’t spend time tracking fuel variances or archiving compliance records when these chores can be done on demand.
Stop calculating and guessing how best to manage fuel assets and spend more time improving the things directly in front of your customers. You are often pulled in multiple directions, but you can use technology to make sure that direction always leads to a better relationship with your customers now and in the future.
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.