Cigar Shop Customer Service: Evolving to Meet Your Customer’s Needs

Stock them, and they will come! It’s a mantra that cigar retailers have used since the 1990s cigar boom days. Cigars practically sold themselves, with cigar shop customer service only requiring answering questions, collecting funds, and sending customers on their merry way. However, today’s cigar shops need more robust strategies to maintain success. 

Customers are more tech-savvy and acclimated to instant buying than ever before. So, the most successful cigar shops evolve their strategies to fit the ever-changing needs of cigar customers. So, let’s sneak a peek at how you can embrace change and technology to build a better, stronger, more lucrative customer service experience. 

Understanding Changing Customer Service Preferences

Successful customer service is rooted in maintaining a friendly, knowledgeable staff that caters to customers’ wants and needs. Yet, these days, it requires a more intuitive approach that allows you to anticipate customer needs and trends more quickly.

Customer preferences continuously evolve as more and more cigar customers become accustomed to online and mobile shopping. The effect on cigar shop customer service has been monumental, creating the need for a unique hybrid that blends proven old-school customer service tactics with technological enhancements that, just a few decades ago, were considered nothing more than science fiction. 

Creating a cigar shop customer profile helps better understand when, how, and why customers’ preferences change. A customer profile is simply a theoretical representation of your average customer’s traits. Frequently updating the profile lets you chart changes to customer service preferences. So, no matter how preferences change, you can identify key strategies that deliver optimal cigar shop customer service. 

Diversifying Your Cigar Shop Product Offerings

It’s easy to think of customer service as simply greeting customers with a smile and sending them off with a heartfelt thank you. However, it runs much deeper. A core necessity for guaranteeing quality cigar shop customer service is ensuring you have the products and information customers want. So, as customers’ needs evolve, so too must product knowledge and product offerings.

Product selection is key to getting customers through your cigar shop’s doors and converting repeat sales. If you don’t have what customers want, you run the risk they may not shop at your store again. You don’t want to let any sales opportunities go to waste in today’s hyper-competitive world. So, keeping up with the current cigar trends and customer needs is vital to providing the best customer service experience possible. 

True, you can please everyone, and you won’t be able to carry everything customers ask for, yet you can take steps to fuel sales opportunities even if you don’t have what they initially want. Diversifying your product offerings is a great workaround. You can better deliver on a customer’s request by carrying a broader range of cigars, accessories, and related cigar tie-ins. 

Diversification allows you more flexibility during the sales process and lets you stay ahead of cigar trends by rotating inventory to match changing customer preferences. As a result of growing your product range, you can feature more new products that generate greater sales opportunities. It also demonstrates the additional value and flexibility that shopping at your cigar store provides to customers.

Enhancing Customer Experience For Your Cigar Shop

The incredible shift in supply and demand and the thirst for cigar knowledge that resulted from the 1990s cigar boom shook the very foundations of the cigar industry. So, too, has the advent of digital shopping. Customers are more knowledgeable and less patient than ever, so a top-tier customer experience is critical to success.

Offering a diverse collection of products and friendly faces is only part of the equation. Customers have more buying options than ever, so every little detail can make all the difference. Whether taking time to answer questions or giving a guided tour of the humidor, every word or event is an opportunity to build trust with the customer and show why your cigar shop is their best option.

Maintaining a staff with in-depth product knowledge is a key component of the customer experience, yet what is often lost is how to extract information from customers. Frequently, customers ask for products they have only heard or read about that may not even be close to what they usually enjoy. They may not even know what they are searching for. So, it’s another opportunity to build trust with your customers and steer them towards something more to their tastes.

A great tactic is to ask customers questions about the cigars they like and where they plan to smoke them. Ask about cigar sizes, blends, accessories, favorite drink pairings, and any other bits of information that let you home in on the best options for them. This is also a great way to gather info for creating customer profiles.

Whether or not you have the products they want, the best strategy is to never say no to their requests. You may not be able to get what they ask for, yet you can get as close to satisfying their needs as possible. For example, there are always customers who’ll ask for cigars your shop doesn’t carry. The basic customer service response might be, “Sorry, we don’t carry that,” which is a missed opportunity. A better response is, “We don’t carry that cigar. However, let me show you another one you might enjoy.” This creates a sales opportunity without overly pressuring the customer. 

Take customer service to the next level by responding, “We don’t have it, but we’ll get your info and find it for you. In the meantime, we have a cigar right up your alley.” In one easy swoop, you gain additional customer profile information, create multiple sales opportunities, and show customers you’re willing to go above and beyond to satisfy their cigar needs.

Combining these tactics with in-store promotions, cigar tastings, product demonstrations, and other events further enhances the customer experience. Providing a next-level customer experience demonstrates that your cigar shop is the ultimate authority on cigars, building an ever-growing platform to build trust, prestige, and sales.

Embracing E-Commerce and Digital Innovation

Technology is a double-edged sword that has opened the door to customer service challenges and opportunities. However, the many options available to cigar shop owners to build stronger customer service strategies through digital means far outweigh any difficulties. 

E-commerce sites dovetailed with social media and email marketing can fuel a powerful customer experience and boost sales exponentially. So, digital tools are no longer a luxury for cigar shops yet a necessity for generating optimal customer service and sales 365 days a year. 

In a study for 1WorldSync’s 2023 consumer product report, customer surveys found that 66% of consumers made online purchases for products they previously only purchased at a brick-and-mortar shop. The study also discovered that 87% of those surveyed researched products on mobile devices while shopping in-store, and 61% of consumers began their shopping experience online before visiting a shop. These findings make it clear that successful cigar shops must embrace technology to keep up with consumers and leverage its power to reach an ever-expanding world of sales opportunities.

Unleash Greater Cigar Shop Customer Service Possibilities

Cigar shop customer service is the gateway to expanding your shop’s customer base, bringing your shop greater prestige, and ensuring rock-solid sales growth. Customer service isn’t a one-and-done strategy, though. It’s ever-changing, requiring a keen eye on changes in customer dynamics and cigar trends. 

Sound like a lot to handle? Not to worry! The Cigarketing team has your back! Our marketing and customer service gurus are there every step of the way to ensure your cigar shop’s customer service is all it can be. So, let’s chat today about how we can kick start a new and improved customer service experience for your cigar business.

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