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Retail customer service starts with eye contact. Making eye contact tells the customer you see them and are ready to help. If you are busy with another customer, eye contact and a quick head nod lets them know you’ll be with them ASAP. Customers interact with your staff each time they walk into your store. When a customer experiences exceptional customer service, it can result in a loyal customer who tells their friends and family about how well they were treated, and encourages them to shop there. Word of mouth advertising is the most powerful marketing tool.

Armed with product knowledge and different ways to approach customers, your staff will feel more confident in their ability to engage with the customers. In return, your customers will have confidence in the information and products you sell, your staff and ultimately your business. These are a few training topics to include in a customer service training program.

  1. Interpersonal Skills –Reading a customer’s cues gives insight into engaging direction a customer. Welcoming the customer in the store and politely asking if they need any help initiates the interaction. Based on the reaction, the conversation will either continue or the customer will browse for a while. Train your staff to know the difference between being helpful and being pushy. And to always listen to the customer and avoid multi-tasking when engaged with a customer.
  2. Product Knowledge– Your staff should be able to answer basic information about the products that you sell. Customers rely on your staff to know the features and benefits of your products so they can make an informed decision. Knowledgeable staff gives the customer confidence in their buying decision. When discussing a certain product, your staff should also take this opportunity to suggest other products that work with the product the customer is considering. As an example – suggest the Shingle Eater Junior to remove shingles in tight areas that the Shingle Eater Renovator 90 Tall Demo can’t reach.
  3. Answering Questions-Customers expect staff to be able to answer their questions. If a staff person disregards the customer’s question or is vague in their reply, the customer may lose confidence in your business and move to the competition next time. There may be questions that the staff is unable to answer, there is nothing wrong with admitting you don’t have the answer to a specific question. The key is in the follow through. Emphasize to your staff they should find someone who does know the answer or find a resource to provide the answer. In addition to obtaining the information in question, most customers will appreciate the honesty and extra effort shown by your staff.
  4. Employee Availability – One of the most frustrating shopping experiences is when a customer can’t find someone to help them. In fact, when a customer can’t find a staff person in a reasonable amount of time, they may just leave the store and never return. Scheduling the right amount of staff is a critical management process. Understaffing can result not only in frustrating the customer but also your employees. Also training staff how to acknowledge and “hold” a customer while you finish up a transaction will empower staff and make customers feel valued.

Retail can be fun and interactive for both your employees and your customers. Investing the time and resources into customer service training will have a positive impact on your overall sales and customer’s perception of your business. Word of mouth is the best marketing, so create a positive work environment where employees and customers are treated with respect. Building a reputation of great customer service in your community requires consistency and commitment to your staff and customers.

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