If you’ve ever had an unpleasant in-store customer service experience, chances are you haven’t forgotten it. One bad experience can taint a customer’s view on a brand and the people it employs and thus create a ripple effect. Customer service is a solid building block for an exceptional business and it’s important you get it right.
So, what exactly is good customer service?
Good customer service, especially in retail, means providing seamless assistance to customers before, during and after they purchase or make an enquiry in your store. It’s about meeting customers’ needs at all touchpoints and ensuring you perform in an efficient, respectful and empathetic manner.
With so many competitors in the market, the one thing you can control is the way you treat the people that support and keep your business afloat. Afterall, great customer service helps drive revenue, increase brand awareness, generates positive word-of-mouth and creates a sense of community.
Whether you’re entering the retail world for the first time or have been working in the industry for several years, there are always skills to learn and opportunities to grow so you can excel in your role. When it comes to customer service, you’re in the driver’s seat.
If you’re eager to nail your customer service role, we’re exploring some of the best practices and tips to help you thrive.
Be Proactive instead of Reactive
It’s as simple as taking all necessary steps to ensure possible customer issues are resolved before they have a chance to run into them. This could be shipping delays on a product, stock levels on an item of interest or a change in store hours.
Ensure you’re across your company’s policies
Being across the policies and guidelines at your work doesn’t mean studying a large document full of big words and procedures. Think about the frequently asked questions you’d want to know about a product and the store you’re purchasing from. Do they offer refunds or exchanges? What type of payments do they take? What’s the guarantee? If you can handle a question with confidence it will help reassure a customer.
Understanding body language cues can set the tone for a customer’s experience. When they enter your store, do they look around for assistance or avoid eye contact? Knowing how a customer feels from the get-go can help guide your verbal and physical actions with them. At a minimum, greet them with eye contact, a friendly smile and let them know you’re there to help if required.
Whether you work in a boutique or large department store, every customer wants to feel important. Showing them that they’re valued for their contribution to your brand or workplace means being attentive and offering a personalised service. This could be greeting them by their first name, asking them about a product they purchased from you in the past or presenting them with items you think they may like. The ability to listen shows that you truly care.
Know your product
Don’t know much about the product you’re selling? You can bet the customer has picked up on this. Do your homework and learn about the products on offer. Your reassurance and insight into top selling items, benefits and features of a product or personal recommendations can positively influence the final decision on a sale.
Remain cool, calm and collected
Despite popular belief, the customer isn’t always right, but that doesn’t mean you can lose your cool with them. Regardless of whether a customer disagrees with a store policy or is being unreasonable, it’s important to remain professional and level-headed throughout the situation and use your emotional intelligence. A mature or appropriate demeanour can help de-escalate a strained situation.