Posts Tagged 'retail customer service'

Highly Successful Retail Manager and Customer Service

Highly successful retail managers (HSRM) are passionate about delivering exemplary customer service; they treat customers with the respect they deserve – role modeling on the sales floor so associates can see and hear exactly what exemplary customer service looks and sounds like.

The HSRM knows that every customer, in every situation, must be treated with the utmost courtesy and respect and, if he does not role model that behavior at all times, there is very little hope of associates delivering consistently.

Role modeling correct and proper behavior ensures that you are seen as the authority on how the customer is to be treated.

It also earns you respect as employees see how easily you deal with customers in every situation.

They see how you change your greeting and overall approach to different customers.

For example, you would likely treat teenagers looking at headphones differently than you would treat a mature married couple who are upgrading their entertainment system – not in any way better or worse, just differently.

Approaches are not generic and need to be tailored, just like the rest of the sales process.

Role modeling is an excellent way to teach and HSRM’s take every opportunity to do so.

HSRM’s know their customer and they insist that their team members learn as much as they can about them also.

By talking to customers, and through various types of analysis, the HSRM becomes an expert on his customers likes and dislikes; their shopping habits; what they will, and will not, accept in terms of merchandise and various other things.

For example, an HSRM would be able to speak intelligently about how the customer will react to a proposed visual display or a promotion.

They know their customer and their subordinates understand that maximum performance depends on knowing the customer also.

The HSRM teaches by showing – by role modeling as mentioned above.

This aspect of the job cannot be underestimated because it speaks volumes about you and your expectations.

Associates must sincerely believe in the importance of the customer.

There is no better way to instill this belief, than by having the manager demonstrate how important the customers are to him/her.

The HSRM knows what the organizations’ service strategy is, knows how to deliver it, never fails to deliver it and expects the same from everyone in the company.

Before any associate steps on to the sales floor, s/he must have been made aware of the customer service offering of the company and how the company expects it to be delivered.

For example, if the business model of a particular company is one of self service then associates may not be expected to actively engage customers in sales conversations.

However, to ensure that the business is still focused on revenue generation through excellence in customer service, they would still want to see customers treated in a particular way; perhaps they would expect an approach and an offer of assistance.

Whatever the company decides to deliver as far as customer service is concerned, that is what the associate must be trained for once the customer service basics are in place.

Many companies incorrectly assume that their new associates possess the basics of customer service.

This is a mistake because when it comes time to layer on training specific to the company’s customer service offering the new associate may become confused and will not perform well.

It would be like learning to run before learning to walk, resulting in a lot of falls or, at least, missteps.

The key, here, is making sure that basics are understood first. Basics consist of things like:

Arrow-Right Presentation – dress and grooming

Arrow-Right Physical posture

Arrow-Right Good manners

Arrow-Right Telephone etiquette

Arrow-Right Knowing what is, and is not, appropriate behavior on the sales floor

Arrow-Right Showing respect for the customers’ time

Arrow-Right Showing respect for the merchandise

Arrow-Right Understanding the company expectations and general workplace rules

The highly successful retail manager knows how to assess associates to ascertain their level of competence when it comes to delivering customer service.

This is usually done at the time of the interview and with well worded questions to past employers during the reference check.

Of course, observation is an excellent assessment method also.

Once the basics are clearly understood and the associate understands what the company customer service offering is, and how to deliver it, they are ready for the sales floor.

The HSRM knows that this training is critical and that it positively must be done before the associate interacts with customers.

After that, the manager must keep a very close eye on the associate to ensure that all interaction with customers is exactly as it should be.

Watch for eye contact, body language, facial expressions, what is actually said and tone of voice.

We said earlier that HSRM’s role model exemplary customer service at all times and that doing so was the best way to ensure associates realized the importance of customer service.

There is, of course, more to be done to ensure the on-going improvement of our associates and one of the major things is to have coaching conversations as often as possible.

After observing an associate the HSRM spends a few minutes talking to them to either praise or correct, or both.

Praise comes fairly easily. The HSRM praises the associate for specific behaviors that were correct.

Having a coaching conversation where you must correct behaviors can also be easy if you direct your attention to the specific behavior and make sure not to criticize the individual.

The HSRM knows that these conversations are an absolute must and that they owe it to the associate, the company and the customer to make the conversation as productive as possible.

The HSRM knows, intuitively, how customers should be treated and, in addition to modeling the behavior, HSRM’s teach all associates these golden rules:

Arrow-Right Treat every customer like a valued guest – using only the best manners.

Arrow-Right Never say the word “no” to a customer – even when you cannot say ‘yes’, find a way to handle any situation without actually using the word “no”.

Arrow-Right Respect the customer’s time – always – if the customer has to wait, be sure to let the customer know why he is waiting and approximately how long he will have to wait.

Arrow-Right Put yourself in the customers’ shoes and try to see things from their perspective – ask yourself “How would I feel if I were the customer in this case?”

Arrow-Right Never assume anything – ask questions to gain information.

Arrow-Right Recognize the customer’s lifetime value to the organization.

Arrow-Right Smile and show your enthusiasm for your work.

For more on Retail Customer Service, Click on the banner below

Retail Customer Service Fundamentals

Lifetime value of a customer

Knowing how much a customer is worth to you over the long-term is the best way to convince yourself and your staff to become more committed and determined to treating your customers right and keeping them happy.

Calculating the lifetime value of a customer is reasonably simple. Take the example of your local supermarket. A typical family of four will spend approximately $200 each week on groceries and household items. Given that they are on vacation for two weeks a year, and say they are away for other reasons for another 2 weeks, that means they will shop at their grocery store for 48 weeks each year.

Over the course of a year, this single family will spend approximately (48 x200) = $9,600 at that supermarket. Now, let’s assume that the average family stays in their community for 15 years. Without taking into account inflation or the time value of money, that one family is worth $144,000 ($9,600 per year times 15 years) to that supermarket.

Now imagine the quality of service — be it speed, friendliness or special treatment – that family would get the next time they bought groceries if the store staff and the cashier knew they were worth $144,000 to the store (not just the $200 they were spending that day). It would probably be much better, wouldn’t it?

Suddenly, when you and your staff realize the lifetime value of customers to your business over the long-term, making decisions to benefit them (and not just your short-term interests or profits) become much easier. Take the time to figure out the lifetime value of YOUR customers. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Retail Success Accelerator is a product that is full of such practical, insightful and actionable ideas. Take a Look for Yourself-Click Here

All the Success! 
DMS Retail

PS. It is a combination of many little things that are done consistently which brings the ultimate success. Do yourself a favor and get a copy of the Retail Success Accelerator today.

7 Deadly Sins of Customer Service

You probably have seen the following before, but it is so valuable we just thought you would enjoy it again regardless.

Seven Deadly Sins of Customer Service

1. Apathy: A just don’t-give-a-damn attitude on the part of the salesperson or an impression conveyed to the customer in terms of “Do I look like I give a damn?”. Some people get this way when they get bored with their jobs and nobody is reminding them that their job priority is to serve the customers.

2. Brush-Off: Trying to get rid of the customer by brushing-off his or her need or problem; trying to “slam-dunk” the customer with some standard procedure that doesn’t solve the problem but lets the service person off the hook for doing anything special.

3. Coldness: A kind of chilly hostility, curtness, unfriendliness, inconsiderateness, or impatience with the customer that says, “You’re a nuisance; please go away.” It is amazing to find that so many restaurants carefully select the most moody, depressed, hostile person they can find for the hostess-cashier job, making sure the customer’s first and last moments of truth are good ones.

4. Condescension: Treating the customer with a patronizing attitude, such as many health-care people do. They call the doctor “Doctor Jones,” but they call you by your first name and talk to you like you’re four years old.

5. Robotism: “Thank-you-have-a-nice-day-NEXT.” The fully mechanized worker puts every customer through the same program with the same standard motion and slogans, and with no trace of warmth or individuality. A variant of this is the smiling robot who gives a permanent “star” smile, but you can tell nobody’s home upstairs.

6. Rule Book: Putting the organizational rules above customer satisfaction, with no discretion on the part of the service person to make exceptions or use common sense. Banks are famous for this; they usually do everything possible to eliminate all traces of human thought and judgement, with the result that no one is authorized to think. Any customer problem with more than one moving part confounds their system.

7. Runaround: “Sorry, you’ll have to call (see) so-and-so. We don’t handle that here.” Airline people have made this into an art; the ticket agent tells you the gate people will take care of it, and the gate people tell you to see the ticket agent when you get to your destination, and the agent at your destination tells you to have your travel agent take care of it.

You can improve your customer service by training your front line staff with DMSRetail’s Retail Selling Skills & Customer Service Fundamentals DVD course.

Basics of Retail Success

All of us are looking for success in our retail businesses. Apart from and beyond everything else, sustainable success requires consistency. What do we mean by that?
We mean being consistently great in all aspects of our retail business.

Short term successes are possible due to some lucky combination of factors. But, we can not rely on lucky combinations. They are too far in between.

What we need to do is to set the foundations of our business right so that we can repeat our successes consistently.

This also has a profound impact on customer satisfaction. Your customers expect a certain level of performance from you on the basis of perception you created. By being consistent at your skill set and service levels, you at minimum, satisfy the expectations. And if you put a degree of constant improvement process in place, you created a winning combination for your retail operation.

At minimum, some of the areas you must deliver on a consistent basis:

1. Sales Skills (Trained staff on professional retail sales skills)

2. Good to Great Products and/or Services

3. Quick response to all sorts of customer issues (Rapid response procedures in place)

4. Clean, tidy and efficient store environment (Great visual merchandising and maintenance)

5. Streamlined and customer friendly checkout process.

Pretty basic right? Yet, just wander around the mall and see for yourself how many retailers are failing in consistent delivery of the basics.

Companies who understood this simple philosophy went on to create retail empires…

Anyhow, once you graduate from the basics and ready to consistently deliver on a more sophisticated and profitable level, you may need some solid resources… there is always Super Retail Success Bundle to give you all the hints, techniques, advice and the methods. There is also a powerful self study program on DVD for boosting your sales and customer service or satisfaction results called Retail Selling Skills & Customer Service YourTime Study Course

Retail Managers who took advantage of these resources scored very high on results in terms of sales, profitability and customer satisfaction.

You can order them risk free to see what they can do for you and your staff.

All the Success!
DMSRetail
http://www.dmsretail.com

PS. Super Retail Success Bundle and Retail Selling Skills YourTime Study Course are must have resources for every retail manager or owner who are focused on improving their retail operations’ effectiveness. Get your copies of each resource today:
http://www.dmsretail.com/superbundle.htm

http://www.dmsretail.com/retailsellingandserviceskillshs.htm

Words Customers Like to Hear

Here are some examples of phrases that will sound like music to your customer’s ears. Pass them on.

Let me help you with that.
I’ll take care of that for you right away.
Consider it done.
We are always pleased to be of service.
Let us know what we can do to help you.
If you need help, you have come to the right place.
We’re at your service.
We aim to please.
Certainly, we can do that for you.

You can find more Retail Customer Service Tips at  http://www.dmsretail.com/customerservice1.htm

Empowerment and Customer Service

I have recently been subjected to three of the most unbelievably bad customer service experiences of my life. In all three situations, large well known companies were involved. One is a prominent, on-line travel provider; one is a monopoly in the telephone service industry and the other is a huge conglomerate.

I will not bore you with all of the details because I am sure you have been through similar experiences. Almost everyone has. It’s unbelievable, but true.

Being a Retail Management Consultant, I know my way around customer service issues and around company hierarchies so I managed to get my situations resolved, to my satisfaction, albeit many hours of my time were involved and my stress level was at a point where any Doctor would have administered medication on the spot.

Read the rest of the article: http://www.dmsretail.com/customerserviceandempowerment.htm


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