10 Ways Gas Station forecourt managers can attract customers
The only petroleum product whose demand is anticipated to decline in the future is fuel oil. You run the danger of losing your market share if you operate a fuel retail business that focuses solely on the "fuel and go" policy. The engagement, interaction, and transaction are the three main customer touchpoints that require reformation. The amount of information that customers at a gas station are currently viewing not only seems perplexing to them, but it can also be aggravating. Your market share is directly impacted by this. What was thought to be necessary when these features were made is now proving to be too much for a consumer to keep returning; like:
- Myriad of grades/types of fuel (some higher ethanol blends or diesel)
- Card readers
- Contactless/mobile payment options
- Touchscreen technology
- Media platforms
- Variety of marketing promos and warning stickers
The convenience-retail industry and the fuel industry as a whole have had difficulty offering a consistent and tailored client experience. This problem is exacerbated by outdated systems, changing payment methods, and IT. Although this issue pertains, there is a chance that the convenience store or c-store and fuel industry can come up with bespoke customer experience and customer experience management with new customer journey solutions that steady the heavy footfall (which the fuel sector does have at the moment). Every brand in the fuel retail sector is looking at innovative techniques to up their customer experience (CX) game.
Today, a customer's main goal when entering a gas station is not to fill up and drive away. Gas station customers expect the forecourts of gas stations to be fully stocked with everything they might need. Brands need to be aware that customers visit their stores for more than simply fuel, and if they don't, they should still be given plenty of options. Through customer success, customer loyalty, and customer satisfaction, the fuel industry may reinvent itself, maintain its position in the market, and continue doing business.
Studies suggest that the next decade will be the redefining moment for the fuel sector. The forecourt will evolve from more than what it already is with fresh and dynamic ways to incorporate technology and engage with their customers throughout the customer journey, hitting every possible customer touchpoint. This obviously stems from the gradual decline in petrol and diesel vehicles and the simultaneous rise of new fuel alternatives.
Here are 10 ways through which forecourt managers can attract customers to their fuel station:
- Excellent customer service: CX and CXM in the fuel retail sector starts with good customer service. How people talk about you (promoters - as they are referred to) depends on how your staff behaves with the customers. If your customers sense rude behavior or lack of attention to their presence and orders then there is a high chance that they are going to bad-mouth you and not come back. Your staff members must be friendly, sensitive and helpful while guiding your customers. One detractor often brings with itself many more because they will talk ill about your customer service - an action that can cost you too much. Use the mystery shopping feedback method as a part of the voice of customer research from leading customer experience companies to accumulate data on what your customer’s shopping experience is like.
- Physical appearance of the store and fuel station: Make sure your station looks good, inside and outside. From the dispensers, landscape, trash bins, driveway, and exterior of your building; the customer observes each detail. If your station does not look appealing in a physical manner no amount of good experience will work for you. Even passing vehicles judge you based on how you look from outside. Hence, appearance is a major factor for every fuel station and c-store. In fact, if your station looks nice, customers will drop by at some point and that is your moment to bank on customer loyalty in the fuel sector through your convenience store and station flexibility.
- Competitive pricing: for your cafe, c-store and fuel station, keep your price flexible and competitive. When your customer notices that you are competitive with your pricing they will start to compare fuel prices and c-store pricing which will attract them towards you. This is a great method to keep the customer coming and therefore, increasing customer loyalty. Your neighboring sites are your direct competition.
- Innumerable types of services: customers are always on the lookout for ATMs, drugstores, car washes, coffee islands and liquor sales. Figure out through customer experience surveys like pulse surveys what your customer is looking for and provide it to them. Moreover, push the customer to try out these new inclusions in your c-store/fuel station.
- Stock up: you do not want a customer to go back disappointed. So stock up on all your merchandise. Find out what they would want for you to include (a great way to acknowledge the customer needs and make them a part of your decision making process). Your convenience store should be fully stocked. Make sure to be head on with all the expiration dates, while also checking and ensuring all products and produce are fresh.
- Fuel station lighting: Lighting may seem necessary for a fuel station but your convenience store and gas station should be visible. Moreover, it should be attractive, bright and well lit. This not only attracts customers but will also make them feel safe. It will also help avoid any possible mishaps specifically in the early morning and evening hours.
- Signage that helps with marketing and promoting: when a potential customer passes by attractive, fun and relatable signage on a regular basis they are bound to make a statement and cause the potential customer to drop in someday. Moreover, when you are promoting or marketing a product you are also representing and promoting your brand. Let your customers know what you are as a gas station convenience store - which must be a personality curated to perfection. Keep it fun, tasteful and relatable.
- Present a personalized shopping experience: end-to-end customer experience that is personalized and perfectly created for your customer using and including technology is the perfect way to hit every customer touchpoint. Customers want to be delighted. Providing them with pricing that is consistent, relevant and valuable information along with promotions will give you a lead among your competitions, increase sales and differentiate you from your competition. Another technique is to include your customer’s feedback into the store to make your customers feel acknowledged and a part of the process. What you must also indulge in is adopting technology across every customer journey. This will enable you as a fuel and convenience retailer to rake up a forecourt store experience that is compelling and frictionless. Implementing an end-to-end technology that is gripping will give you the lead that you need.
- Making the leap to fuel or chip cards: fuel retailers and c-store retailers must learn to engage, interact and transact through the right methods. Digital and site technologies are growing vehemently and you must start inching into it to provide the best for your customer. Another way to enhance the foreclosure and store experience for your customer is outdoor payment mandates. Current technology has been built in such a way that almost nothing is impossible. Moreover, the technology is ready to support you in your endeavors to achieve customer loyalty. The customer strategy is ready. All you need to do is reach out for it through apt customer experience strategies.
- Inventory monitoring: you have to be reliable, valuable and advanced to fully satisfy your customer. What you need to lean on is reliable inventory monitoring that will keep you away from fraud and real-time issues through complete insights.
These are the 10 ways that will assure you of customer satisfaction which in turn ensures customer loyalty. The fuel retail sector is facing major changes. Gas stations and c-stores are bound to face loss and a gradual decline in footfall if they do not up their customer experience management. The only way is to listen to your customer through customer experience programs such as mystery shopping that tells you where you can improve and what your customer is going through in their shopping experience, voice of customer survey/voice of customer research/voice of customer method that collects feedback which can be accessed to increase your potential and brand audit and compliance audit that gives you detailed assessment of visual or operational aspects of your business. The challenge for industry leaders and brands is to bridge the gap that is slowly deepening itself and not allowing it to affect your sales and revenue.
Sonata GBW finds solutions to every customer touchpoint that is faulty and gives you real-time feedback through its GDX reporting platform. This is your cue to work on your gas station convenience store and provide your customers with exactly what they need with a customer experience company that has mastered customer experience management.
Our CX solutions are focused on transforming the total customer experience through surveys, metrics, analytics and auditing by using the CXM framework to combine physical measurements with digital Platformation™ capabilities. We are committed to finding the right customer experience strategy that can lead to a competitive advantage.
Sonata GBW is a global technology company specializing in customer experience CX measurement, platform-based digital transformation, supporting businesses to become connected, open, intelligent and scalable. Global coverage of more than 105 markets with over 27 years of market leadership through extensive measurement capabilities, powerful and intuitive reporting and analytics platforms give us the leverage to improve customer experience. It has presence across USA, Canada, EMEA and APAC regions. If you would like to know more about how we can assist you, please fill out the business enquiry form below.