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Small Business Center

10 Non-Negotiables of Customer Service

November 4, 2021

By Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor

In many ways, retail is a lot of moving parts, and yet in others, it is very simple: Treat customers as you would want to be treated.

  1. It better be clean. In the old days, everyone cleaned the store. Now, many have outside cleaning services or a dedicated employee, but it is still everyone’s responsibility that a store be clean for the customer. Fingerprints all over the glass doors are one of the first signs of an unclean store. And don’t let a customer walk into an unclean bathroom.
  2. There better be enough employees. I had a client several years ago who took pride that his stores were so busy. He actually said, “People will wait.” No one wanting to buy something will wait. If they can’t be helped, they’ll turn to their smartphones, which will get them assistance and probably the sale. You staff for the rush, not the full day; add extra staff when you know you will be busy.
  3. The merchandise better be priced. Having to find someone just to ask, “How much is this?” is a friction point for many consumers. Friction wears down the likelihood of a sale. Whether your tags are missing or your sale sign is misleading or vague, make the price obvious.
  4. There better be fitting room help. Again, trying to find someone to unlock a door to try something on is frustrating for customers. A person who tries on a garment is 70% more likely to buy it. Make sure the room is well lit, air conditioned, clean and staffed.
  5. There better be clear-cut choices. Without a good-better-best buying philosophy, merchandise can vary in minor details, which causes the customer to have to think and weigh choices between seemingly the same item. Curate your choices to make comparisons more obvious.
  6. There better be free Wi-Fi. Because of concrete walls, many retail locations have poor cell service. While some would argue this is great, it really isn’t, as customers could want to send pics of your items to friends for their opinion before buying. Add a sign at the front showing you offer free Wi-Fi.
  7. There better be quick checkout. Wait time at the cash wrap is the death knell for retailers. The longer it takes, the more the customer wonders if they really need it. Your cashiers must be trained how to hustle when they are busy and tested on accuracy and speed before assuming the post. And that goes whether you have mobile point-of-sale-system on a tablet or a standard cash wrap.
  8. There better be clear signage. Drug stores are noticing customer frustrations and adding various signs that can easily be seen at the end of an aisle. Some are using the new buy-online-pick-up-in-store universal sign so customers don’t have to ask. While we want customers to browse, oftentimes that comes after they solve the mission of what they came into the store to buy in the first place. Obvious directional signs and aisle markers are crucial.
  9. There better be something unexpected — in a good way. Whether it is a standard appliance that now comes in eggplant, a display that shows a new way of using a product or a video that shows how a new item can make the job easier, customers want to be intrigued. Make sure you have something that gives them that taste of the unexpected.
  10. You better stay in touch. If something has to be ordered or information checked on or another person checked with, make sure you tell your customer exactly when you will get back to them. Once a customer puts down a deposit, they are going to be anxious to pick it up. Call them before they have a chance to call you, and stay connected throughout the process to ensure a raving fan on social media.

This article originally appeared at www.retaildoc.com.

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