14 Tips for Improve Your Retail Customer Service Training
When I first began hiring salespeople, the only thing that mattered to me was pay. But now I know there are other factors involved in making a customer happy.
I’m a business owner and I just realized that my employees need to know how to give customers exceptional experiences. What should I focus on when teaching them?
Sometimes, good customer service means something quick and easy. For example, if you need milk for your cereal tomorrow morning or want to get a coffee without waiting in line.
The majority of stores don’t have a chance to increase retail sales without sacrificing profitability.
If you’re talking about customer service in retail, then the word “cheap” is not really a good thing.
Exceptional Customer Service
Being a good retail associate means going the extra mile to make customers feel like they’re an important part of your store. It can be as simple as taking time out from stocking shelves or chatting with coworkers, but it will have a major impact on customer satisfaction.
When I’m hiring for a new position, the first thing that always comes to mind is: what does this company stand for? What’s its culture like and how will it fit in with my own values. It has to be more than just about making money; there needs to be some real meaning behind it.
It’s not enough to post a mission statement on your website or hang up some nice signs. You need more than that.
When it comes to retail, the customer experience begins with a greeting and continues all the way through checkout. A brick-and-mortar retailer looking for long-term success has to make sure that they are living out their message on every level.
This is why retail customer service training needs to go beyond product knowledge and how the point of sale system works.
That’s why it’s important for employees to be good at retail customer service.
Now it’s time to teach your staff how to have a consistent, positive retail customer service experience.
Retail Customer Service Skills
Let’s take a look at the skills that your retail customer service training needs to cover. These are areas of expertise you need in order for your store to be successful.
After being in the business for a while, I learned that there are many techniques to selling that you can develop into your store’s best practices. These skills will not only improve sales on initial visits but also build customer loyalty and profitability far into the future.
1. How to greet customers?
Training your employees on how to greet customers in a retail store can be the difference between having or not having sales. Employees are much more likely to sell something if they know what it feels like to receive good customer service.
Every day, employees of retail stores are more concerned with talking to their friends or playing on their phones than making sure that customers have a good experience. It doesn’t matter if they’re in luxury boutiques or drugstores – it’s an everyday occurrence.
Research has shown that the more unhappy customers are, the less likely they’ll be to seek out a salesperson and ask for help. They’re also more inclined to leave without making a purchase.
On the other hand, I have experienced that fake smile before. When you get it, make sure to say something or they will never stop talking. I have found that the timing and sincerity of your gratitude are both important.
Approaching strangers can be scary for some people, but with practice and training, it starts to feel natural.
2. Communication Skills
You might think that selling is all about pay and commissions, but it really comes down to communication skills.
When I first started out, it was easy to make up a few deals and recommend some popular items. But now that I’ve been doing this for a while, it’s different because we actually have conversations with customers instead of just rattling off discounts.
When you have a retail staff, it’s important to remember that listening is just as important. In order for your salespeople to be able to empathize with customers and understand their needs, they need first put themselves in the customer’s shoes.
I thought that I was born with the ability to understand what customers are thinking and feeling, but now I know that it’s something you can learn.
Younger employees need to be trained in how best to interact with the customer base.
One of the most difficult things about running a business is making sure that your customer understands what you’re selling.
For example, when I first started hiring salespeople, I assumed pay and commission structure would be enough to motivate them but it turns out they want more than just a paycheck.
Retail customer service is not a glamorous job. If you ask someone, they’ll probably say that the most common phrase uttered to them by customers is “No thanks, I’m just looking.”
Instead of using the old tactics that might be too aggressive or intrusive, train your staff to engage with customers who are just looking. This type of shopper will only become a customer if they feel like they’re being treated respectfully and their space is respected.
You can be a natural at sales if you use the right skills. Some of these include using merchandise as props, getting the timing down, and perfecting your body language.
4. Customer Complaints
In order to provide excellent retail customer service, the company must understand what the customers want and make sure they are not being ignored.
You need to create a complaint process that’s easy for your customers and makes them happy, or you’ll be facing negative reviews on social media.
5. Stimulating Innovations and Changes
Sometimes, when training new salespeople, it’s easy to overlook the importance of talking about products.
Of course, your staff should be able to answer questions about the products you sell. They need to know how materials work what sizes they come in or any other information that customers might want.
Let’s face it, if you are the customer then you will know more about your purchase than an employee who is just selling one product.
It’s easy to buy online, but people still go into stores because they want something that can actually do things for them.
It’s up to you how you want your product marketed. You can come up with an original tagline or use the features of the product as a way to sell it.
One of the most costly retail customer service mistakes I see in retail is only showing customers what they asked for. This has become increasingly common because people are now shopping online more than ever, so if you don’t have something that they need on your shelves then there’s a good chance it will be purchased elsewhere.
When a customer walks in to make the purchase, if they are not well trained on what you offer and where it is located, then that can lead to an embarrassing situation for them. I’ve heard of many cases where people have been told that there is nothing for them, or they are directed towards something else.
A customer service specialist will provide the best possible shopping experience by helping this shopper find another relevant product, a premium model, or an additional item to complement their purchase.
7. Closing Sale
Closing sales is a skill that takes time to learn, but with the right training program, you can provide your retail staff with everything they need in order to succeed.
When we’re in retail, it’s easy to focus on the volume of sales and not enough about quality. We have to find a balance between spending time with each customer and helping customers quickly.
It’s why the best retailers focus on making a relationship instead of thinking about transactions as their only interaction with customers.
With the right training, your staff will be able to close sales in a quick and easy way that is still friendly for shoppers.
Training Ideas for Retail Customer Service
Now that you know what it takes to provide quality retail customer service, how do you train your retail employees?
If you want to get ahead of the competition, it starts with your company’s core values.
When you invest in employees that are customer service-oriented, the rewards will be high sales and profits.
1. Exceptional model
You can’t expect to be able to motivate your staff if you don’t make an effort. When a customer walks in, do you greet them and engage with them or are they just ignored?
You might be in the store for other reasons, like taking a break from your staff.
So, if you’re busy or not supervising an employee and they are providing subpar customer service then it’s probably because that was the message sent to them.
You may be a great teacher, but your employees will learn more and faster if you show them how to do the job. Seeing is believing.
One of the skills every manager should know is how to coach. If you want your employees to grow, then it’s important that they understand coaching conversations and incorporate them into their training.
When it comes to training, you need to spend a lot of time with your employees. You should also observe what happens in the store and discuss interactions after they happen. This is like customer service exercises.
If you teach your child something but don’t enforce it when they get out of line or make a mistake, then they will never learn that what you taught them is important.
Coaching is not about telling employees what to do, but rather on asking questions and listening carefully. The goal of coaching an employee should be to help them work through their own problems instead of making decisions for them.
3. Focus on Retail Customer Service Training Program
If you want a system that will cover the basics of retail, invest in an established course.
Running a retail business and training your staff can be hard. It takes hours of time that you might not have, but if you formalize the process then it will save on future time.
With practice, anyone can achieve greatness. New employees need to be trained and coached on the job before they can fully understand what it takes to do their jobs well.
When you’re hiring new salespeople, it’s a good idea to have an experienced trainer come in and work with them one-on-one. It also helps if your long-term employees get coached by someone who knows what they are doing too.
Of course, most operations don’t need a full-time trainer. That’s where we come in – with our help you can train your employees virtually or learn how to lead and manage them more effectively.
When you think about how much your public-facing staff is contributing to every sale in a brick-and-mortar business, the investment of providing them with training should be worth it. It’s not always cheap but there are many different ways that an employer can cover these costs.
Role-playing is a great way to practice new skills and get the awkwardness out of the way. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s better to have your employees try their hand in role-playing rather than with customers.
This includes talking about features and benefits, handling objections, suggestive selling- anything that would be considered sales training.
To help your employees improve, you can try doing a little role-playing. That way they’ll be able to experience the customer’s point of view and will know what it feels like when they get stuck.
6. The Right Staff
Training is expensive and you have to invest time, effort and money into it in order for it to work.
One of the most frustrating things about being a store owner is that you have to invest weeks and months into training someone, only for them to continue their bad habits. The best thing an employer can do in this situation is try something new or provide more personal attention.
I made the mistake of trying to train people who were just not willing or able. I’m now only hiring those with high potential.
If you want your store to grow, hire people who are interested in learning and investing time into their development.
7. Working with Fun
The most important thing about customer service training is that it’s fun and lighthearted.
If you want customers to be happy in your store, make it a fun place. Build an environment where employees can feel comfortable and show their personalities.
When you’re training your employees, make sure to not be a robot. Have fun with them and enjoy getting to know each of their personalities as they work through the steps in your process.
A store full of laughter and fun is a customer’s dream. In fact, this leads to better job satisfaction for your staff as well as improved performance which in turn creates an even more enjoyable atmosphere for customers looking to make purchases.
Level up Your Retail Customer Service Training
Many retailers talk about retail customer service but do not actually practice it.
- They might print up cards with their mission statement on them, and then make it a requirement for employees to carry one.
- I’ve seen people put lists of principles on their shopping bags.
- Every company should encourage their employees to refer to shoppers as guests.
Retailers need to rethink their business and focus on customer service training if they want customers coming back. This starts with investing in the right type of experience.
If you want to build your retail sales, the best way is by implementing a smarter employee scheduling strategy. This will not only help improve customer service but also increase efficiency.
It can be done without sacrificing retail profits, but it requires careful planning and the right strategy.
One of the most important things a business owner can do is to hire employees that are happy. In order for this goal to be achieved, there are certain strategies must be put into place.