MARKETING. COMMUNICATIONS. BUSINESS SOLUTIONS.
Running a successful retail business in 2021 is understandably hard, when just getting people to cross your threshold can be challenging. In addition to competition from other brick and mortar stores, online companies, and convenience delivery services, now employers are struggling with finding enough staff to adequately fill their schedules.
On top of these challenges, business owners also compete
with themselves through the prevalence of online customer reviews via Yelp,
Google, Trip Advisor, etc. These days, instead of speaking with a manager or
completing a feedback card, many dissatisfied customers will post their
thoughts online, rarely returning to adjust a rating or feedback. These
negative posts, even if inaccurate or exaggerated, can hurt a business
considerably if not properly addressed. In the following post, we share a few
easy steps for owners and managers to improve customer service ratings and
increase those conversion rates.
It’s vital that all team members understand the customer is the reason for their job, and to act accordingly. The work an employee is doing—whether taking inventory, straightening stock, or cleaning windows—is what is done in between helping customers. Never should a customer feel as though they are an interruption.
If a customer has caught an employee in the middle of a task, your employee should:
It’s not hard to establish a relationship with your customers. And it’s that connection that so often makes or breaks a sale. “If the sales person had come over and talked to me, I would have probably bought something” is a phrase we often hear from our mystery shoppers. And, many negative online reviews focus on the fact that the reviewer didn’t feel seen or heard. “I saw many employees, but no one even greeted or acknowledged me. We made eye contact and I smiled, but nothing. I felt as if I was a burden.”
The steps are simple:
From furniture shops to shoe stores, employers and managers juggling multiple issues often “make do” with hiring people who might not have the experience or skills to engage visitors and convert them to customers. And rarely do they train the “back office” staff to think and act like a salesperson. But they should.
“We were shopping for outdoor furniture, out really shopping for the first time since the Pandemic hit,” shares Boise resident Mike, “and as we approached one store a woman who was obviously an employee was also approaching us. She looked at us and quickly looked away, no smiles or hellos. She walked through the door which then shut in my wife’s face. We could tell the woman was from a back office, but her lack of friendliness set the stage. When were weren’t welcomed once inside the store it felt like we just weren’t welcome and we left.”Imagine the same situation, but with the employee smiling, saying hello and holding the door open for the customers. Even if a salesperson hadn’t immediately greeted them, the simple greeting offered by the back office employee would have improved the customer experience.
Many managers and business owners are surprised to learn that a third of their complaints could be resolved by training their employees in the art of making eye contact and smiling. Give your team members tools, like the 10 and 5 rule, a hospitality tool that helps employees consistently greet people they encounter. When customers are 10 feet away, employees should receive illicit non-verbal greetings, such as a smile or a wave. Then, when they are 5 feet away, they should be greeted verbally.
It’s the role of the manager to ensure all employees are engaging with customers, even non-verbally, so watch how your employees react to customers. If the customer doesn’t feel welcome, it could show up as a negative customer rating online—something no manager ever wants.
Are your sales not where you’d like? Middling online reviews? Dogwood Solutions can help! Schedule a virtual or on-site consultation today—our mystery shops are developed to identify a range of improvable issues to help businesses improve sales and ratings.
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