When was the last time you had a negative customer service experience?
Do you remember?
Of course, you do! And how many people did you tell about that negative experience? Yep, probably more than one if you're like most people.
And if it was really bad, you’re still telling everyone.
If you don't want people complaining about your business, teach your team the best customer service tips and train them to properly use them.
Never assume just because you hired someone with retail sales experience that they truly know how to deliver an exceptional customer service experience.
And a survey done before the pandemic began reports that 68% of young Americans feel alone because they have fewer in-person social interactions.
To overcome their lack of soft skills in engaging a shopper and to promote stronger relationships in your community, you have to teach them the basics of how to serve someone else.
Here are 10 easily overlooked customer service tips to take your team, your sales, and your retail business to the next level.
1. The greeting
Within 15 seconds of the shopper entering your store, one of your employees must make immediate eye contact, smile, walk up to them, and welcome them. Don't let them just stand where they are and yell out a greeting from across the room.
Make sure you have a genuine smile, and without hesitation, offer to help them find what they're looking for. Don’t just point them in the right direction but walk them to the location so they don't have to remember what you told them. And let’s face it, some might not have understood but were too embarrassed to say so. Then before they walk away, hand them a shopping basket and your latest flyer; do not just ask them ifthey want one.
2. Stay visible and available
Be observant and pay attention to what shoppers are looking at and then recommend other items you have that would complement them. Your customer might not have considered those items if you hadn't shown them how they could potentially work together. In the same respect, if your customer needs something you don't carry, give them an alternative option, something you do carry, and tell them how that alternative option would benefit them just as well, if not better.
3. Use the customer’s name
For your regular customers, actively use their names in conversation; three times seems the magic formula. For shoppers you don’t know, thanking them by name after they purchase by credit card is all you can do.
4. Interact with shoppers as much as possible
Look for as many opportunities as you can find to interact with your shoppers. For example, stay close enough to the dressing rooms so that you can run and get different sizes or colors. Look for shoppers who appear to be lost or confused. You know, the ones looking for a checkout counter or a restroom and proactively help them. Shoppers hate having to find and ask someone for assistance.
5. Be unique and memorable
Offer your shoppers a unique customer experience by giving them the type of service they won't get anywhere else. For example, offer to take their picture from your phone in that outfit or piece of jewelry they like but are on the fence about purchasing. Then text it to their phone so they can look at it again later and show it to their friends, and it helps confirm for them just how good that piece really looked.
6. Follow up
Call or text your customers after the purchase. You want to make sure everything worked correctly, the installers cleaned up afterward, or that the outfit they bought rocked. This is a surefire way to make a lasting impression and gain loyal customers.
7. Remember birthdays, anniversaries, and other special events
Since you have to use your CRM to enter the customer's information anyway, why not set up alerts now for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special events so you don't forget. Make sure you set each alert to notify the customer a few days prior to the event so the good wishes are received before the actual day.
8. Go above and beyond
If a customer is looking for something you don't have in stock, don't just tell them you don't have it. Instead, see if it is already on order, offer to call another store, or even go online and order it for them.
9. Put your devices away
Shoppers deserve your full attention. Never answer your phone, text, or talk to someone else while you're helping a shopper and when you are on your break, make sure shoppers can't see or hear you. They don't need to know what's going on in your personal life, nor would you want them to.
10. Show your personality
Don't be that person who never smiles, who talks in a monotone voice, or who comes across as unpleasant. Even if you’re in a bad mood, you don’t want to take it out on a shopper. Trust me on this one. You might be the nicest person in the world, but if you don't consciously display your personality, you will probably be misunderstood. And, always, always, always talk in full sentences. You are at work and there’s no place for a verbal text-like conversation.
In addition, have age-appropriate conversations. If you're dealing with a senior, don't use slang or shortened words they might not understand. You never want the shopper to feel stupid.
Start implementing monthly customer service training sessions for your team. You can also challenge them to look at their own shopping experiences at restaurants, shops, hotels, etc. to find new ways to deliver exceptional customer service. Ask them to share their observations with everyone at the next meeting.
Just because a particular customer service tactic is something that's never been used in your store, doesn't mean it wouldn't benefit you.
In fact, doing something different will make your business stand out. People will remember how refreshing it was to receive a better customer service experience and they will tell their friends.
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