One of the most important things to do in a retail environment is to look after the customers. Many customers are becoming dissatisfied with low levels of customer service, particularly from big organisations.
The drop in standards has been attributed to high level management teams who have little or no experience of working directly with customers, as such they prioritize cost cutting rather than creating a great customer experience. Although this can work in large chains where price is their only competitive edge it is not good for smaller businesses or for businesses that offer good quality products or who want to retain customers.
Although your employees may not remember every customer that they deal with, your customers are likely to remember their dealing within the business. At the very least they are likely to have an emotional memory of the shop, as to whether they enjoyed their purchase, received good service or the opposite. Of course the product that they bought will have affected this memory too, if they got a defective product or something that they liked it will have had an emotional consequence.
The basics of customer care are really quite obvious but sometimes staff members need them to be underlined in order to bring them into their behaviour. For a start being courteous and considerate of the customer is very important. They should be addressed if possible when they enter the shop, not hassled but acknowledged. When speaking to the customer it is good to be enthusiastic and happy, which is easily demonstrated with a smile and by looking them in the eye. Establishing a personal relationship will build trust and rapport between staff and customer; this will encourage the customer to return.
Having knowledgeable staff is also key to providing good customer service. If a customer has a question then staff should answer it, or endeavour too. Taking the time to answer queries will build trust and make the customer feel valued. If you can then you should always try to go the extra mile for the customer for example by gift wrapping an item if requested. It is also important that staff take care to pay attention to the customer even after any transaction has been completed. Being friendly before taking payment and then ignoring them afterwards can undo much of the good work done by being friendly in the first place, the customer will feel like they are only valued for their money.
There is a lot of customer care training and as it is such an important issue it is always worth getting staff fully trained up either by sending them on a course or by having someone in to teach them. Getting your customer care right can mean increased sales and loyal customers, which is the path to success in every business.
About the Author: James Benham is a Service Advisor for training courses website Courses Plus. A small investment in the right training of your staff can be a big investment in the future profits of your business.