Customer service has always been important. It keeps your customers as happy as possible while they're in store and can lead to valuable, free word-of-mouth advertising.
But when you're competing with the perception of steep price discounts through online vendors, you need to elevate your customer experience — that's what will keep your students coming back to your store term and term again.
The overall customer experience goes beyond simply greeting visitors with a smile and helping them with any questions or concerns. It's part of the total package your customers experience from the moment they walk in your doors to the moment they go back home with their purchase, and sometimes beyond. If you're looking to evaluate or revamp your customer experience strategy, here are some great tips to get you started, courtesy of Retail Minded.
The temperature of your store should be based on what’s comfortable for your patrons, not just employees. If it’s warm outside, don’t blast the A/C to arctic degrees – your customers are most likely dressed for hot weather and will soon become uncomfortably chilly. If it’s cold out, refrain from turning your store into a sauna. The more comfortable it is to be inside your shop, the longer your customers are likely to stay and enjoy their experience.
It’s such a great treat to wander into a store and be met with the offer of a delicious refreshment, don’t you think? On a warm day, the presentation of a cool glass of home-made lemonade or iced tea (maybe skip the Long Island aspect) is so appreciated. During the fall or in the midst of winter, a tasty cranberry apple punch or hot chocolate (and maybe a cookie, too) can really lift the spirits.
As we enter the autumnal season, with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to implement this strategy. By sharing a drink with your patrons, you are encouraging them to relax, stay for longer and really enjoy their time in the store. This is a really effective way to get to know your customers and create a lasting, positive experience. What’s more, the nostalgic scent of a warm, spiced brew will no doubt elicit a favourable emotional response which could lead to more sales.
We all appreciate honesty (within reason). In retail, it’s important to individually gauge each customer to determine the most appropriate products for their needs. If they ask for your opinion or assistance with a purchase, don’t simply lie to encourage sales. This can backfire and lead to returns or an unhappy experience. Your aim should be to build trust, so don’t be deceitful just to make a quick sale.
If you think an item is unsuitable, tell the customer why and suggest something more appropriate. If you genuinely believe a certain product is just what they need, compliment them on their choice, explain your reasoning and perhaps suggest other items that would appeal to them. The customer will feel reassured by your honesty and be confident in their purchase decision, both at the time of purchase and after leaving the store.— Rachel Craig via Retail Minded
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