ne thing you need to realize as a retailer is that your customers would always come back if your service is excellent. They would even refer your business to family, friends, and colleagues if they are satisfied. But unfortunately, I have seen a lot of exclusive and well-packaged businesses with very poor customer service.
I once walked into a store to get jewelry for my fiancée. I wanted to surprise her so I decided to try a new place where she doesn’t patronize. When I got in, the attendant was not welcoming at all, she just said “Hi” with a straight face. Seriously I didn’t spend up to 10 minutes in there because the atmosphere was too cold for me, even when I needed to talk. That’s just an example of a bad service anyways. There are actually lots of other ways businesses and small retail shops fail in interpersonal relations which keeps them from having loyal customers.
The truth is for you to keeps your customers coming back again; you need to first have a desire to delight them with your services. It’s really beyond just selling your products and services. You need to also consider how satisfied your customers are when they visit your store or website, what they feel and think, and how you can improve to provide an excellent service.
Quickly, I’m going to show you 10 simple customer service tips to try as a retailer to keep your patrons satisfied.
1. Know Your Product and Services
I have seen some customer-facing staffs that don’t even how their products work. I once had an experience in a mobile device shop where no one could tell me about the features of the product; they kept stuttering and I had to leave. I mean why should I buy a product if the seller is looking confused about what he is selling?
My point is as a business owner, you need to make sure all your staffs understand what you are dealing in. Be aware of common questions that customers are likely to put forward and articulate your answers in a way that will leave them satisfied.
2. Say “Thank You”
This phrase is magical and it can keep a customer loyal to you. Don’t make the mistake of saying it only after a purchase or business transaction. Say it irrespective of whether a shopper makes a purchase or not. Also, try to drop a thank you note in your customer’s bag or mailbox or send them a personal thank you mail after a huge purchase.
3. Improve Your Checkout Experience
I personally have an issue with long wait times. It kind of leaves a sour taste in my mouth when I experience it. Trust me, your business sales can be affected by an unpleasant checkout experience. Avoid this by using clear in-store signing. This allows your customer to know where to stand in line.
Also, form lines around checkout aisles to encourage customers to make a last-minute purchase. During business hours, try to adopt processes and tools that can help you bust through long queues.
4. Go the Extra Mile
If your customers ask for an item that you know is out of stock, seize the moment to show them other great options. Look into the back room and search for those shoes in size 7, even when you’re sure you don’t have them.
You may also offer them a chance to get free delivery when the item restocks. Trust me; they will remember the extra effort you made to satisfy them.
5. Ask for Feedback
You may be surprised by what you learn about your business when you ask your customers what they think about your product and services. It makes your customers feel their opinion is valuable and they open up to you without being sentimental.
So whenever a customer is completing an order, ask them first-hand for feedback. You may also try the use of feedback forms, customer surveys and questionnaires to check in with your customers and make sure they are happy.
6. Read Between the Lines
You don’t need to be an expert to read your customer’s body language. If your customer is quiet and gives a straight face throughout a transaction, they might be going through a family or work-related issue or maybe just a mood swing. Be sensitive not to ask lots of questions at such a time. Just a smile and a ‘thank you’ would do.
Although some moods might be tricky and a customer might just be looking for a fight. Never take the bait. Just wrap up the confrontation to a polite conclusion. If the matter is getting out of hand, just walk away or call the attention of the security personnel to handle it.
7. Remain Positive
Always welcome all comers with a warm smile and don’t wait for them to set the tone of a discussion. Ask them “how may I help you” in a cheerful manner. Your positivity could rub off on the most disgruntled customer and this can prevent your conversation from going south.
8. Be Discreet if a Customer’s Credit Card is Declined
It is highly impolite and can be embarrassing when you inform a customer that their credit card is declined, especially in the presence of others. If such a situation arises, think of how you would respond in a discreet way that won’t draw the attention of other customers around. You may inform such a customer that his/her card is having an issue and that another payment method would be better for the transaction. Just make sure you protect the pride of the customer.
9. Give Your Patrons a Gift
Every human naturally feels indebted to people who offer or give them something for free. So try to give some free stuff to tap into your customer’s mental desire to reciprocate. You may choose to offer a candy jar full of treats by the checker counter, a cold drink on a hot day, or plate of free samples. This indirectly triggers the part of them that wants to payback.
10. Keep to Your Promises
It is common practice to attract new customers with promotions, but unfortunately, a lot of businesses make lots of offers with multiple strings attached. Don’t be like this because it can ruin your reputation to the ground if you’re not careful.
Be honest and upfront about the offers and benefits your business offers. Even if you fail to include an expiration date on a promotion flyer, always honor it and keep to all your promises.
Customers are definitely the soul of every business. So, if you desire to move your business from thriving to surviving, you need to improve on your customer satisfaction. You can leverage the tips given above to turn your shoppers into loyal customers for life.