How to Improve Retail Customer Service
After a bad customer experience, have you ever seen customers walk out of your store or website?
When the retail environment is changing so much and offers many options for customers to choose from, consistently great service will be what sets you apart. Keeping high standards and training staff will help you create long-lasting connections with your customers. These are some ways on how to improve retail customer service:
Offer Consistent Retail Customer Service Across All Channels
It is not enough to just have a website or even better yet an online store. You need to be aware of the customer’s buying journey and how they are using multiple channels on their way towards making a purchase.
Providing a consistent retail customer service experience and providing the same feel at all touchpoints is crucial to having an effective omnichannel strategy.
“Her Hide Out,” a clothing store in Washington D.C., wanted to stay consistent when they set up their eCommerce shop during the COVID-19 pandemic so that it matched with their physical stores and Stephanie Fontaine said,
“It was really important for us to make sure we captured our vibe on both sides of the business.”
When the company was first starting out, it also realized that linking its online store to social media sites like Facebook and Instagram would allow them to increase customer service while reaching new customers. They found this is especially important when someone interacts with their account on one of these networks but doesn’t buy anything at the time.
Make customer service everyone’s job
Customer service is the responsibility of everyone in your company, and if anyone (from new hires to managers) doesn’t think providing great customer care is important, maybe they’re not right for the job.
Keep sales crew up to date
Want to start improving customer service in retail? Do you want to provide a consistent service across channels? Then make sure your employees are constantly receiving product training and updates. You should have new products on display for all of your staff members before they go out onto the floor or online so that no one is left in the dark about how something works.
Train Staff on New Health Guidelines
Keeping your employees in the loop about industry changes and health regulations is important because you want to make sure they are always aware of any upcoming change that might affect them.
New regulations are being released that require staff to wear masks at all times and keep social distancing. It is important for management to create a detailed guideline of how these new requirements will be implemented in the store so employees know what they need to do when dealing with customers.
One way to deal with an uncomfortable situation is to be prepared for it. For example, if masks are compulsory in your store and you offer them free of charge, this will help transform a potentially negative experience into a positive one.
Equip employees with a customer service script
Jerry Han, Chief Marketing Executive at PrizeRebel, stated that one way to improve retail customer service is by training employees to use positive and reaffirming language. Training the staff with a script helps them know what to say in order for customers to have an excellent experience.
Communicate with Customers Regularly
Whether you’re informing customers of new store hours or upcoming deals on your website, one great way how to serve customers in retail is to communicate with them often. The best way to ensure a great experience is by letting them know about any changes in the way that you operate beforehand.
One way to get customers in the door is by offering appointment shopping. Make sure you email them and display information prominently on your website before their visit, so they know what’s available and when it’ll be ready.
Personalize the Customer Experience
Personalizing retail customer service is a trend that will continue to be popular.
And the best way for businesses working in this field to create long-lasting relationships is by getting to know their clients.
One way to keep track of customer preferences and purchases is through an omnichannel loyalty program. This will allow you to stay in touch with your customers, based on their purchase history or even what they like about the store. It also helps them get better offers.
Tori Erickson, owner of Loyal Tee Boutique in Dallas, Texas has noticed that her customers are extremely loyal to their loyalty perks.
“I have multiple customers who use the rewards every day,” “They look forward to it and say ‘oh I got a text message about my reward today!'”
If you are running your store with appointments, train your staff to check up on customers that are coming in for a scheduled appointment. This will allow them to show the customer products they might be interested in or offer an additional product or service.
Want more retail business tips? These are some easy ways that you can personalize the customer experience:
Give customers contactless options
Customers are changing the way they shop. One of the most popular trends in retail is contactless options, which offer security and convenience for customers. Train your staff on how to interact with them so that you can provide adequate shipping or pickup choices.
Focus on the customer
It is difficult to keep track of all your responsibilities when you own a small business. You have customers coming in and need to answer the phone, fill online orders, or take care of those waiting at the register. When faced with these decisions, put on hold whoever is calling and focus on giving outstanding retail customer service.
Introduce employees and customers by name
When selling in today’s retail world, it is important to make a good impression on customers within seconds. If you need help with any questions or concerns they may have about the product, introduce your co-worker by name and use their name as well. Referring to others by name will make them feel more comfortable when shopping for products because this makes an experience personal.
Celebrate your customers’ birthdays
The easiest way to please customers is by recognizing their special days. Sign them up for a birthday club with the month and day of their birth, which you can note in your POS system or loyalty program so that when it comes time to celebrate they are alerted as well as rewarded.
Go the extra mile
Offer your customers options if they can’t find what they are looking for. You may not have the item in stock, but you could offer them a rain check or let them know when it will be back in store.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes
You may have the best product in town but if it does not meet their needs emotionally, then they will leave and never come back. If there is an event coming up or something that has stressed them out, knowing how to handle those situations can be key.
Make Your Checkout Process Seamless
Customers should not have to wait in line, so there are many ways you can make your checkout process easier.
In order to get the most out of your customers, you need a checkout process that doesn’t disrupt other shoppers. If they’re in-store and have been helped by an associate, you can allow them to use iPads so they can check themselves out without any disruption.
It’s important to make sure that your checkout process is short and sweet. This way, you won’t lose any customers who are ready to buy but just need a few more details before they can commit.
When the customer is checking out, it’s your last chance to close a sale and set them up for future visits. Here are some tips on how you can make sure they have an amazing experience at checkout.
Tell every customer your policies
Give paying patrons a gift
One way to leave your customers feeling satisfied is by giving them free stuff. People love getting things for free and humans naturally feel indebted when someone does something nice for them, so it’s a good idea to offer some kind of small token as an incentive.
Be discreet when a customer’s credit card is declined
When people have their credit card declined, it can be a really embarrassing and stressful experience. The customer may not know why the card was rejected or what to do next. They should tell them that there is an issue with their payment method and ask if they would like another option such as cash.
Ask for feedback
One of the most important jobs that retailers have is to understand what their customers want. The best way for them to do this is by asking, and it’s easy enough these days with online surveys linked to codes on checkout receipts or hard copy surveys given in-store.
10 Easy Ways to Improve the Customer Experience
It is a common misconception that retail customer service can be improved by just giving better training to employees. There are other factors at play, such as the number of staff you have on hand and how long it takes for customers to get through checkout.
1. Say “Thank you”
As the owner of a store, you need to make sure that your customers are always satisfied. You should be thanking them for their business whether they made a purchase or not.
2. Stay present without hovering
As a retailer, you have to find the balance between being helpful and overzealous. This is one of the more nuanced customer service skills that customers want for retailers. Customers want you to be available when they need help or assistance with finding something but don’t like it if you hover around them while browsing.
3. Don’t turn away from an approaching customer
No matter what, do not turn away from a customer. It doesn’t matter if the phone is ringing or you need to go on your lunch break – if someone approaches and needs help, smile and greet them with open arms. If you absolutely have to step away for any reason (even just for a moment), make sure they know who else can support them in your absence.
In order to have happy customers, you need a team of happy employees. It doesn’t matter how tough the job is- if your customer service representatives are grumpy or condescending, they will never make more tips than their non-smiling counterparts and won’t create a welcoming atmosphere for shoppers.
5. Establish procedures on how to deal with unhappy customers
It’s important to empower your sales staff with the tools they need when things go wrong. Write down procedures for how employees should handle difficult customers, and train them in customer service skills that will make unhappy people feel valued.
6. Encourage patience
I found that certain customers are challenging to deal with, but these very shoppers are the most profitable. I learned how to reward salespeople not just for hitting sales numbers but also for dealing with demanding customers successfully.
7. Never say, “I Don’t Know”
When you tell your customer that “I don’t know,” they think, “you really don’t care.” Instead of saying “I can’t answer that question right now, let me look into it and get back to you with an answer.”
8. Don’t make promises you can’t keep
Promotions are great for attracting new and repeat customers, but nothing is more frustrating than offers with lots of fine print and multiple strings attached. If you want to stay in business, then be honest about what your company can offer. People will appreciate that you’re being upfront instead of trying to trick them into a sale by making false promises.
9. Create a comfortable break room
Employee satisfaction is not just about salary.
10. Stay positive
When customers try on a million different outfits and leave them all over the dressing room floor without buying anything or when you spend an hour demonstrating software to someone, but they end up ordering it from Amazon instead of your store because there’s no pressure—it can be hard not to feel defeated.
So, if you want to motivate your salespeople and keep them happy at the same time, make sure they are positive. Train staff on how to stay focused when negative emotions come up.
Creating Connections Through Retail Customer Service
Customers are used to a certain level of service, and the bar for retail customer service is always rising. With so much competition out there, stores have innovated in order to stay ahead. Training your staff to understand customer needs and have the right technology will help them create long-term relationships with customers.