Harnessing The Power Of Good Customer Service

| Wednesday, January 19th, 2011 | No Comments »

Customer service has the power to make or break a small shop business. Have you ever approached a shop counter and been completely ignored by staff? Or had to stand there waiting whilst shop staff finished their conversation on the phone? Almost everybody has had bad customer experience and knows how incredibly frustrating and annoying it can be, it may even make you decide not to shop there again.

No matter how cheap your goods, bad service will drive your customers away so it’s essential that you establish a good customer service policy both for yourself and for any additional staff to adhere to.  Good customer service can even drive up your profits; take a look at the lingerie shop of Boudice, they sell expensive lingerie but their customers are willing to pay those prices because of the service they receive in return.

It may be a bit of a clichéd saying but the customer is always right, because you need that customer more than they need you.

  • Always acknowledge your customer when they enter the shop and never, ever forsake the customer in front of you for the telephone. People can call back, but customers won’t come back once they’ve walked out. Treat them as you would a guest and remember to thank them for their purchases and say that you hope to see them again soon. If a customer feels valued they will leave your store with a great feeling and remember that positive experience.
  • Little touches can also mean a lot, such as an umbrella stand by the door on a rainy day (it also saves your floor getting wet and slippy), some chairs outside the changing rooms, the offer of a drink or someone to hold the door open for them. Your customer is your most important VIP so make sure they leave your shop feeling like one.
  • If a product that the customer wants is not in stock, offer to call them once the re-order arrives and put one aside for your customer.
  • Make sure that your returns policy is fair and reasonable and be prepared to compromise. If a customer comes in with an item that they’ve had for a month because it was bought early for a present for instance, don’t insist on sticking to your guns. Equally ensure that your returns policy is clearly printed on the receipts and even in front of the cash desk.
  • Treat all complaints seriously. Some shops ask the customer how they would like the complaint to be resolved and if it’s possible (and reasonable) offer to resolve it in the way they would like. Very often you may find that the customer suggests a better deal than you were going to offer them anyway.
  • Regularly ask for feedback from your customers and act upon suggestions made.
  • SMILE! You might have had a rotten day and just feel like burying your head under the duvet, but don’t let your mood transfer to the customer. They don’t want to walk into a shop to be greeted by Basil Fawlty. And if you smile whilst talking to customers on the telephone it does actually make a difference!

Everyone shop has their fair of challenging customers, but remember that without your customers you would not have a viable business, so you need to keep them on your side. Think back to the last time you received some particularly good customer service and try to identify just what it was that impressed you the most. Every time you encounter either good or bad customer service you should take notes so that you can take your experiences back into the shop. If you think like a customer then you’ll be more aware of what it is that your customer wants.

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