The results are in from a recent poll conducted on Retail Ireland Skillnet Facebook page, where we asked our followers if they felt retailers could improve their customer service standards? The poll ended with a resounding 90% of voters backing the need for change in retailer’s customer service standards.
The question is where do retailers start and what is the first thing that comes to mind when we think of customer service? In recent years, there is a resounding focus on creating customer experiences which engages and excites the customer, with the implementation of digital signage, recreational facilities, click and collect stations, in-store demonstrations, and events. Whilst these are all critical in creating the customer experiences, from completing the research and conversing with others, I believe first and foremost, consumers want retailers to get the basics right every time. They expect to be greeted with a smile, sales-people to have high standards of product knowledge, pleasant experiences at the changing rooms, competent cashiers and customer service personnel, purchases folded or bagged correctly and clean, friendly and tidy shopping environment. The saying ‘it’s the little things that count the most’ is correct when it comes to getting your customer service right.
Today’s consumer is connected, informed and active, they shop in a world where there are no social or geographic boundaries. The customer is in control and in order to create loyalty, trust and respect customers want to know their custom is appreciated and valued. Creating a culture where customer service is the engrained in the day-to-day practices must be the ultimate goal for every business. However, this is often easier said than done. To create an honest and meaningful customer service culture, it starts at the top of the leadership team. Richard Branson said “good customer service begins at the top. If your senior people don’t get it, even the strongest links further down the line can become compromised.” It is impossible to solely bread an organisational customer service culture from the shop floor up. Customer service training should not only be reserved for those working in customer-facing roles but needs to seen as a prerequisite for everyone including the leadership team or owner.
One voter made a very valid comment “I think there’s a big difference between a retailer’s standards and the standards delivered consistently. I think standards drop when there is staff movement. I think it’s not company policies and procedures that need addressing but the retailer’s ability to manage absenteeism/holidays/ training needs etc.” The value of customer-facing employees tactic knowledge is immense in driving customer service standards. When employee’s roles change due to varying reasons, their knowledge on the customer changes with it, yet how many retailers measure the impact on customer service and future loyalty?
The key to unlocking this volatile approach to customer service is to empower employees through training and education. The great companies which we work with here in Retail Ireland Skillnet have a customer-centric approach ingrained in their mission, vision, and values. They understand that offering all employees training in areas customer service is the gateway to finding customer excellence. To find out more about our Customer Service training courses, call us on 07491 76853, visit https://www.retailirelandskillnet.com/product/retail-customer-service/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org