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Strategies to Wow Retail Customers


Here are some other techniques towards prosperity in retail:


1. Ask permission to make product suggestions

Classier companies, like Ritz Carlton and Fidelity, will ask, “Can I suggest a few things?” versus simply "selling" your suggestions to the customer.

This nice touch says that the company is treating you special, that they need your permission to be a part of your decision-making process. They are asking to enter into your world, rather than assuming it’s ok. This is a simple strategy for demonstrating respect.

Asking to make a suggestion isn’t necessary, but it separates the better companies from the average companies. Especially when you consider that these are items you are "adding on" to the original purchase.

2. Provide status updates on custom orders and products being serviced.

There is nothing worse than waiting for a response from a store about a product you’ve ordered (whether it's merchandized the store routinely carries or a special order). Customers become frustrated when they don’t know in a timely manner when the product will arrive or when the product they're getting serviced will be ready.

Rather than making customers wait for that information, be proactive and provide customers regular updates and timeframes. You will wow customers by initiating this kind of communication. It demonstrates that you go out of your way to make the customer feel at ease and reinforces they made the right choice on where to buy. 

Often times, stores will not call until they "know something." In other words, they do not want to call the customer until they have more information to share. Customers have told me time and time again that they will wait longer and be less stressed about a service experience as long as they are being communicated with. In my shoe stores, the rule was, call a customer on a special order every 3 days. While the employees were not always thrilled with it, every customer was. Most of our delays were from vendors and beyond our control. But the fact that we kept the customer informed was what made all the difference. 

3. Acknowledge a customer waiting to be served.

This strategy is not new--and it should already be a part of your customer service policy and routinely used by employees. However, it’s a noteworthy strategy because not only does it demonstrate your care and awareness of customers, it staves off customers’ frustrations, which can lead to a perceived sense of poor customer service.

When working with Shell Oil several years ago, we performed an exercise to collect information for training materials we were developing.

A customer would come into the store every day and pay for gas. Additionally, he would buy a cup of coffee and a pack of cigarettes, exchanging “good mornings” and pleasantries with the clerk. He’d spend a total of 40 seconds in the store. One day, the same person comes into the store spending the same amount of time--40 seconds--getting what he needs. But this time he left the store claiming he experienced poor customer service.

It took the same amount of time to get what he wanted, yet he was unhappy. How could this be? Why did he complain?

Simple. Because he had to wait in line, which he never had to do--and he was not acknowledged by the clerk. He perceived the time to be longer than 40 seconds, claiming he received poor customer service. A simple acknowledgment from the clerk would have eliminated the problem.

If customers are waiting in line or waiting for their turn to talk with you, give a simple “Hello, I’ll be with you in a moment.” And consider adding great signage to areas of your store where people have to wait. These things make a world of difference for customers and have great impact on how they view your level of service.

Always look for ways to go the extra mile when you service customers. They’ll notice, even if the act is simple. Most often it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. It's what I like to call Experience Engineering. Think about your customer and end work to engineer experiences in your store that exceed expectations every cutover every time.  


 Compiled in Editorial Board of Retail iran



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