March 2021 has arrived in the blink of an eye. And as this year continues to whizz past, and uncertain times loom, there is one thing we have all come to understand during the pandemic, and that is the power of positive customer experiences.
With spending power low and savings a priority during the pandemic, shop owners have had to adjust to a more people-centric approach. This means getting to know your customers better, prioritising their needs, engaging more and providing the best possible customer experiences in-store. Here are 7 ways to help you raise the bar to ensure loyal, returning patrons.
7 CUSTOMER SERVICE TIPS FOR BETTER BUSINESS
1. Empathy first
The good news is that many brands have risen to the challenge of ‘people first’. Examples abound of companies creating advertisements and promotions emphasizing a brand’s concern for the safety of its users in the form of health advisories and preventive measures instead of the typical price discounts and messaging around product superiority.2. Hire the right people
Your staff are the face of your brand. When it comes to recruiting for customer service roles, you’re better off hiring for attitude, followed by advancing skill. Some of the world’s best companies recognize this. Bruce Nordstrom, the former chairman of Nordstrom, famously said, “We can hire nice people and teach them to sell, but we can’t hire salespeople and teach them to be nice.’’
3. Go beyond the call of duty
- If your customer has a question about where something is located, walk them there instead of merely pointing it out.
- Train your employees to answer the phone on no more than the 2nd ring.
- Walk a bagged purchase around the corner to your customer, without handing it across the counter.
- Ask your customer their name, and upon leaving, bid them farewell. “Goodbye Joe – enjoy the rest of your day.”
4. Use positive speech and body language
When training your staff, go beyond teaching them about your products and store policies. See to it that they’re also well-informed when it comes to the importance of body language and speech. Subtle changes in gestures and wording can make a big difference in how customers perceive and react to a brand.
5. Remember your employees are a reflection of your company
Employees take their cue from management. Do you greet your employees enthusiastically each day? Are you polite in your dealings with them? Do you try to accommodate their requests and listen to them about their ideas and concerns? The way you treat your employees is a direct representation of how your business will be perceived.
6. Create a wonderful instore vibe
Your customers could be shopping online, but they’ve gone to the trouble of coming instore. Organize your shop layout in a way that draws customers in and makes them gasp with delight at the combination of colours, decoration, music, and design, especially for special occasions such as Easter, Mothers’ Day etc.
7. Know how to deal with unhappy customers
Establish written procedures to help employees know what to do with unhappy customers and equip them with the skills needed to make unhappy customers feel valued. Give them the authority to issue returns, make exchanges, or provide extra merchandise without having to ask for approval from management, all while the disgruntled customer grows even more frustrated.
Customer Experience = powerful reviews
We’re more likely to make a purchase if others around us, even total strangers, agree that it is a good decision. Today, online reviews are the biggest source of social proof, and they have a direct impact on sales. Your brand can also build significant trust and credibility from a steady stream of positive reviews.
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