Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers

What type of retail associates does your store have?

Posted by Dean Asher on 9/18/14 3:46 AM
Topics: college store customer service, college retail

Customer service in retail comes in all shapes and sizes, but the way your staff handle customers as they come in store might be more simple than you think. Doug Fleener with has broken down the retail associate game into four simple types. Which types are your employees, and how does that help your store?

The Gawkers. A Gawker is defined in the dictionary as "a spectator who stares stupidly without intelligent awareness." That may sound harsh, but if I'm out to spend money and a retail employee doesn't even acknowledge my existence, I'd say the definition fits.

The Stalkers. Stalkers barely engage you when you come into their store or department, but follow you around hoping you’ll have a question or need. They're the human equivalent of an algae eater trying to suck up any easy business. The only value stalkers add to a customer's experience is getting something from the backroom, or removing any algae from your backside. As a customer I like Gawkers more than Stalkers — as long as they can ring up my purchase.

The Talkers. Talkers are very pleasant sales people and are some of the friendliest people you'll meet in retail. Talkers love to engage customers and they usually deliver a good experience. Talkers are great at answering customer questions, but rarely ask any of their own. Most Talkers love to talk about the company or the products, but without much of a sales focus they miss a fair number of sales opportunities.

The Rockers. Rockers are my favorite retail associates. They just plain rock the experience and turn up the sales volume. One store that has Rockers is my local Delia's, a retailer that targets girls and young women between the ages of 12 and 19. The young women in this store just rock!

They always welcome their customers and they also engage the non-buyers in the group. (That means dad.) They aren't at all pushy but they are assertive about moving their customer to the dressing room to try clothes on. Think about that. "Assertive" means making an all-out effort to win or succeed. "Pushy" is obnoxious. We should always be assertive without being pushy.

What I especially like about the Rockers at Delia's is that even though they have a young customer they are consultative sales associates. They give feedback on fit, style, and are extremely active in the dressing room. They're always running out to grab another size or another style for customer. That's not only great service, that's creating the sale.

Every time I go in that store with my daughters I happily leave money behind. There aren't many stores I can say that about, but then again there aren't a lot of stores that employ so many Rockers.

So let me ask, how many Gawkers, Stalkers, Talkers and Rockers do you have on your team?

You can also create more Rockers by teaching your team to play these three simple chords:

1. Be extremely customer-focused

2. Be assertive without being pushy

3. Actively create and add value to your customer's buying experience.

Article comments

Subscribe for updates

Share your experience

Contact our editorial team to set up an interview or to contribute a guest post.

Most popular posts