Customer service can be the secret weapon of every retail business. Some external factors which challenge your organization will always be out of your control — economic deficits, prices offered by your competitors, the weather outside, etc. But no matter what else you have going on, a great consumer experience and helpful, friendly personnel keep shoppers returning time and time again.
The importance of customer service in retail really cannot be understated. This mutually beneficial value-add can create customer loyalty, boost sales, enhance customer lifetime value, and help your buyers feel cared for. Everyone wins when a business prioritizes customer service.
Defining a Great Retail Customer Experience
So, what is a good customer experience in retail, and how might businesses create this for their patrons? The gist of it is this: customers should feel that they have particular and special value as an individual to your business.
Customers want to be taken care of. We all know how frustrating it is to call a helpline and receive endless transfers to automated service messages. If a customer has a question, feedback, or other requirement, they want to know that their specific needs will be met, promptly and with empathy. Businesses should make sure that there is a clear method of access for customers seeking help.
Customers want to feel seen. This can mean any number of things. If the customer is wandering listlessly around the store, they should be asked if they’re looking for something. If a customer has made a complaint or asked for a change, they want to trust that their feedback will be taken seriously and implemented. From floor service to contact pages, there should always be a real person available to receive customer questions and input.
Customers want to be acknowledged. Especially repeat customers who have given a business their loyalty want to know that they are appreciated. Set up rewards programs, send out birthday greetings, give thank-you notes to big spenders, and do your best to relate to customers on a first-name basis.
And this is only the beginning. Retail customer service is a detail-oriented practice which shifts and changes along with external factors, and the ever-evolving needs of the customer.
A Guide to Retail Customer Service
In this section, the reader will find a more detailed account of specific tips to implement and avoid for a customer service experience which is effective, contemporary, and good for creating long-term relationships with the patrons of any organization.
[Read More: Ecommerce Customer Service]
Customer Service Tips for Retailers
- The customer in front of you always comes first. On a busy day there are any number of things that can drive a customer service representative to distraction: the phone might be ringing, the line might be getting longer, a customer you just checked out may be approaching the register waving their receipt. But to give a good impression to the customer in front of you, your attention must be given to them. A great in-store experience is worth its weight in gold, and you can trust that the consumer will appreciate the time you took to serve them, and only them.
- Customize the shopping experience. Sometimes it feels like there’s no one around to help you find an item you’re looking for. Others, the floor service representatives feel like circling vultures — the trick to on-the-ground customer service lies in determining the unique wants and needs of each customer. Some patrons want a lot of help while they’re shopping, while others prefer to be left alone. Greet your customers by asking them if they need any help, listen to what they say whether it’s ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and proceed accordingly.
- Meet your customer where they are. Friendly and authentic banter can go a long way for customers who feel like chatting at the register. But some customers like talking more than others — and that’s okay, too. We all have great, mediocre, and bad days, and sometimes our moods and willingness to engage will be affected by this. Practice empathy while assisting your patrons and help them have a great service experience at your business, no matter what kind of day they’re having.
- Go mobile. One of the biggest current trends in retail customer service, an unabridged and streamlined mobile shopping experience will launch your online business into the modern world of retail. Smartphones are more powerful than ever, and the majority of shoppers are using their devices not only to access online stores, but to perform product research and look for reviews, sales, and other locations while in-store. If you haven’t already done it, investing in a mobile platform will take your customer experience to the next level.
- Socialize. Whether or not you already have an online presence, creating a social media account for your organization can provide new and easy access to your customers. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or twitter provide easier means of communication between your business and your customers, and they are quickly becoming the preferred method of contact for many shoppers. Additionally, loyal consumers can boost your business via your social media account by sharing praise and generating buzz in a visible place.