At Nine Business Group we enjoy helping retail businesses here in Calgary provide the best service to their customers while increasing their bottom line. Therefore, it is important to factor out any customer service issues that may be hindering your company’s reputation. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when running a retail business:
Not Listening to Customer Needs
As soon as you have your first interaction with the customer, your job is now to start listening. Hear what they have to say, and then offer help. If you are focused on what to say to them to sell a product, while they are speaking, they are likely not going to make a purchase with you. Your intent may not be what the customer wants, and since consumer needs are always changing and evolving, we can provide the best value by listening to their needs and offering help. If you are not focused while they speak, then you can’t provide valuable insight.
Focusing too Much on the Product
Of course, you need to love your product if you are selling it, but it is important to not get wrapped up in just the physical aspect of what you are selling. Instead, focus on how your product can help your customer and what benefits it will provide for them. This shifts the focus from the product to the customer. This way you are putting their needs first and thinking about what is going to work for them.
Smothering The Customer
The main goal of customer service is to help. Not everyone can make buying decisions immediately and therefore if you “hover” over them making them feel pressured and uncomfortable they are not likely to return. Start with a warm welcome that includes some insight or valuable information about your product. This allows you to engage with the customer without them giving you the immediate, “No thanks, I’m just looking.” Then stay focused on the customer and have patience. By giving them something useful you have opened up the opportunity for them to respond and engage further without smothering them.
Assuming a Quiet Customer is a Satisfied Customer
These are the customers that can easily slip away. According to a recent article in the national post after a negative customer experience with retailers, banks or cable providers, only 17 percent of Canadian consumers posted negative comments online. The national average is much higher at 28 percent. However, 49 percent choose to switch retailers with the top reason being poor customer service. Not everyone makes a complaint or brings up an issue when they are unsatisfied, they just quietly move on.
How can you avoid this?
Follow up with your customers frequently and keep them well informed.
Ask your customers through simple surveys or questions for honest feedback about their experience with your company so that you can gain valuable feedback.
Ensure that all social media and email accounts are checked frequently for any customer inquiries.
Customers have high expectations and many alternative retailers to choose from so monitoring your customers’ behaviours and listening to their needs will turn them into a loyal customer. Provide great service and the sales will come!
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