Customer assistance has always been a priority for retail stores and the importance of good in-store communication is only gaining momentum. People need a reason to continue shopping in stores as online services become more readily available. The point of difference has, and will always be, the level of customer assistance that can only be provided in-store. Good customer service ensures staff engagement with customers, without being overwhelming or too ‘pushy’. Some customers are quite direct in their approach and walk into a store knowing they would like immediate help or assistance. These people are rarely the majority. Many customers enjoy shopping independently at their own leisure, dreading the idea of a staff ‘shadow’ following them around until they either buy something or leave the store. When the customer decides they do want assistance it usually comes with the expectation of an immediate response. At these times it always seems difficult to find someone to ask, often resulting in a negative shopping experience. In order to compete with the growing online market, retailers need to focus on implementing successful in-store engagement and response strategies to ensure customers have a positive shopping experience.
Good strategies to ensuring your customers have a good experience in-store:
1: Avoid sales staff pressure
Your sales staff can either be your greatest asset or your biggest liability. The culture created in your store through customer engagement can determine whether the environment is encouraging sales and longer shopping durations or pushing people away. Customers enjoy knowing there is someone there and willing to assist them if they need, however bombarding them at the front door is usually off-putting. Timely and informative service is your key to success. Staff should be trained on how to provide service that’s encouraging, without following the every footstep of the customer.
2: Timely assistance
Particularly in larger retail stores it can often be hard for customers to find assistance in their time of need. It may be that they are waiting at an unmanned service desk, looking for a product in a hurry or even in need of a different size in a change room. It’s not expected that staff can be everywhere at once but through the use of strategically placed call buttons they can be quickly alerted as to where they are needed. Wireless call buttons can be placed anywhere in store and will play an automated message over the public address system to alert staff. For stores who don’t already provide services such as this you may be losing valuable clients who simply don’t have the time to wait around until staff check in on them.
3: Store analysis and reflection
Through installing electronic call buttons you will be able to track how often they are being utilised in each department. You will notice trends in particular departments that might be lacking staff, or certain times of the day when there isn’t enough staff on the floor due to lunch breaks ect. These trends can assist in relocating staff and creating new procedures within your business in order to provide better assistance.
4: Knowledgeable staff
Once a customer does receive assistance there is nothing more frustrating than a staff member who cannot answer your question or can’t point you in the right direction. Staff product knowledge needs to be up to date and useful in order to promote customer loyalty. Many customers will happily travel to another competing store in order to receive better service and background knowledge/ recommendations on a product. This issue is particularly heightened during holiday seasons throughout the year when new staff are hired, barely trained and put on the floor immediately. It’s up to the store management to ensure that new staff get sufficient training before allowing them to become the point of contact with your customers.
Employee education along with a proactive customer assistance strategy and correct tools are the keys behind increasing store efficiency and encouraging happy return customers.
For more information on wireless call buttons and how you can increase customer enjoyment in your stores contact Distribution Media.