Increased Revenue From Customer Service

By: Teamwork Retail

As a retail business owner, you likely know the power of customer service. There are, however, certain strategies and mindsets that can elevate customer service from a necessary evil to one of the major selling points of your brand, which means better profits.

Every Industry is a Service Industry

At the end of the day, customer service is everything. Whether we’re talking about a cashier at the local grocery store, customer support for an ecommerce business, an account representative in business-to-business transactions, or even interactions with shareholders, customer service is simply too important to neglect. If you haven’t already, begin thinking of every industry as a service industry and every role in your company as a service role.

The Levels of Service

Getting customer service right in your retail business is easy to implement, but difficult to master. Essentially, there are three echelons of service: Unacceptable, neutral, and exemplary. This basically means that your customers will either be disappointed, amazed, or completely fail to notice your customer service altogether. To make matters more complicated, each person on your team can simultaneously provide unacceptable service to one customer, neutral service to another, and exemplary service to the remaining; these levels are not mutually exclusive, nor are they milestones that, once achieved, remain as a permanent standard. By shifting your focus to providing customers what they need on an individual basis, you can implement training procedures that reflect a constantly reapplied effort for service in your business. Each interaction is a chance to fail, succeed, or achieve nothing – which is your team comfortable with?

Going the Extra Mile

People often confuse customer service for white-gloved flattery and puffery, which basically means putting the customer on a pedestal and carefully adhering to their every whim, but this definition of customer service will actually go unnoticed by a large amount of your customers. Think about it, do you remember a cashier or sales rep just for being polite and friendly to you? No, of course not, you expect that because that is their job. Instead, the times that customer service truly shines is when the employee or representative goes beyond your idea of what you need to identify and solve your concerns – even if you didn’t yet know what they are. Truly great customer service is found by going above and beyond, regardless of how many flattering statements and other placations were made. To put it simply, if you’re teaching your team that customer service is found through manners and decorum alone, then you’re going to miss the mark on exemplary service far more often than not; instead, you should train for ways to anticipate and solve customer problems first, while being friendly and polite second.

The Customer is (Almost Always) Wrong

Yes, we’re fully aware that this goes against everything we were once taught about customer service, but anyone that has dealt with customers long enough can attest that this is simply the truth. If you’re raising an eyebrow, think of it this way: If every customer that walked through your door did exactly what they intended to do once inside, what would be the point of offering customer service, human interaction, marketing, advertising, and all of the carefully-placed merchandise your store is lined with? After all, if the customer is infallible, there would be no need to try to increase your sales, because your sales would be set in stone. Of course, this isn’t the case at all; most customers have only the faintest idea of what they want, and even that idea is still far from what they actually need or could benefit from. More often than not, your best customers will be those that planned to use your service for one thing, found another completely different option with your staff’s help, and are now thrilled that you opened their eyes to the reality.

So, please, drop the “the customer is always right” line, and start standing up to your customers to solve their real needs. Instead of assuming they know what they’re talking about, train your staff to act like the experts they are instruct them to ask questions instead of following commands. If a customer is acting rude, take the time to ask a few probing questions and demonstrate that you want to solve their problem, but are not their slave; not only will a vast majority of your customers respect your store more, but you’ll find that many of them will immediately transform from angry to excited about finding the solution to their issue, whatever it may be. Teach your people this line: The customer is not always right; it is your job to lead them to the right answer in the most supportive way possible – even if that means telling them that they’re wrong (politely).

No Feedback is Bad Feedback

You’ve likely heard the showbusiness expression “no publicity is bad publicity,” which basically just means that the more top-of-mind you are, for good or bad reasons, the more likely you are to succeed; the same principle applies to customer service feedback. Now, if you’re wondering about why we’re suddenly talking about feedback, then you absolutely need a better way to prompt and receive customer feedback. If, however, you’re already up-to-speed on the vital importance of feedback in your business, then you’re likely ready for the reality check that comes from seeing every bit of feedback as a blessing – even if it’s negative; especially if it’s negative. Positive feedback is great for boosting team morale and helps to validate your efforts to demonstrate the power of going above and beyond, but so will your sales if you follow the above strategies. Negative feedback fills a whole different role entirely, which is found in the ability to actively make your team better.

If you go on a witch hunt or shame an employee for bad service, you’ll miss a tremendous opportunity to learn from the missed opportunity. To explain further, every piece of negative feedback comes from a customer that was so surprised by the poor service they received that they decided to take the time out of their day to let your team know how they let them down; anyone that cares that much about your brand represents a tremendous opportunity for future sales through a complete paradigm shift. Talking within your team, even if you don’t recover the customer, you can use a specific incident to illustrate and even brainstorm ways to succeed in a similar opportunity in the future. When you receive negative feedback, share it during all of your team meetings and ask for feedback from the team on what could have been done better; take it a step further by asking whomever was involved to admit their involvement and explain the situation to the group in further detail. By not shaming them, and instead exalting them for their bravery and honesty, you teach your team that negative customer interactions are opportunities for sales, growth, and exemplary service, not something to be swept under the rug and forgotten about.

Give Your Team the Tools They Need

We don’t believe it is possible to overstate the importance of customer service, but your team will find it far easier to provide excellent service when they have the tools to do so. By investing in the best possible retail POS system, you can equip them with the inventory management and sales floor solutions power they need to confidently solve each customer’s needs. The last thing you want is technology to cost your team a customer interaction that could have gone better, which can quickly lead to resentments against the system or store itself. At Teamwork Retail, our POS system is a cloud-based app that can run on tablets for easy accessibility and maximized employee and customer convenience. Plus, our retail POS systems are backed by some incredibly powerful tools that will help your customers remain engaged and interested in your brand, which makes your team’s role in service even easier.

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