Customer service is one of the most critical components of the retail business. However, many small and independent retailers fail to appreciate just how crucial it is to driving sales and improving customer loyalty. A cursory check of online reviews of retail stores in your area will reveal that many businesses still fall short when it comes to providing a pleasant shopping experience.
Shopping should be pleasant and easy for people, and customers can quickly go to other outlets if your service is poor. And a five-star service isn’t just for big retailers. With the right strategy, even small businesses can provide a superb service to get shoppers coming back for more.
Here are a few ways to improve your customer service practices:
1. Hire the right people
Excellent customer service starts with the employees you hire. When recruiting for customer-facing roles, focus on hiring people with a pleasant attitude and disposition, even if they’re not that skilled. After all, you can always teach a nice person how to sell, but it’s more challenging to instruct a good salesperson how to be nice.
Skills and experience might be useful to have. Still, as long as you hire someone who can be easily trained and whose disposition lends easily to service-oriented industries, you can expect better performance from them than an experienced salesperson with a poor attitude.
2. Improve the in-store experience
Some of the most common customer service complaints include a poor checkout experience and long wait times. Every step of the in-store experience, from the floor layout to the payment options have to be calibrated to ensure excellent service.
For starters, use easy-to-understand signage so that your customers know where the checkout counters are, where to form a queue, and to encourage impulse purchases. Investing in tools like Zebra repair can also reduce downtime if your equipment malfunctions. Always refine your checkout processes and make changes where necessary.
3. Focus on a single task
Your in-store employees won’t be able to perform at their best if they’re juggling multiple tasks at a single time. It might make sense from a financial standpoint, but it doesn’t do you any good when it comes to customer service. Instead of training your employees to do multiple tasks, you might want to think about allowing them to specialize in a single job instead.
Employees switching from one task to another can lead to errors and inefficiencies. By having one person only do one job, they get to learn skills and strategies that allow them to work faster and smarter.
4. Be present but invisible
Most customers hate having staff follow them around. Your intentions can be good, but hovering staff can make your customers feel like you don’t trust them. Strike a balance between being careful and helpful.
Of course, customers expect fast service when they have questions or if they’re ready to ring up their purchase. But they don’t want someone tailing them at all times. One easy workaround? Have your staff keep themselves busy by arranging displays or straightening shelves.
Investing in good customer experience can mean the difference between growth and loss. Staffing your stores with the right people, improving store processes, and experimenting with novel techniques all go a long way in improving customer satisfaction.