Actions to Improve Retail Customer Experience


Retailers like us often define success as the attainment of sales and profit targets.  But success in retailing is actually determined by the quality of the customer – or guest – experience.   If the customer’s experience is excellent or even just consistently good, your retail shop will be on the path to sustained success.  If it’s not, your business’ failure looms closer with each negative encounter.

A study by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs reported that a typical dissatisfied consumer will tell between 9 and 15 people about their experience.  But it gets even worse from there… 13% of those customers will tell more than 20 people.  In fact, since people now carry smartphones there is the risk of them telling hundreds of people via apps like Facebook or Yelp.


Avoiding Retail Guest Complaints

I know that during my first years as a retail store manager, I would cringe whenever I would receive a customer complaint.  I would apologize for the bad service, make a genuine attempt at satisfying the customer and then – after the customer was gone – let the sales associate responsible know just how I felt.  But after a while I realized that some customer issues began to repeat themselves on a regular basis and began to look for the underlying causes.

It quickly became clear that the only way we could reduce complaints was to implement systems to avoid them.  This included systems for thoroughly training retail staff on customer service expectations, procedures and how to use their best judgment so that we could retain and grow our base of customers.

It is easy to assume that everyone in your store or shop understands what great service looks like, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  It’s only when you sit down and map out a preferred guest experience, and then provide retail customer service training to your staff while implementing the policies, procedures and systems that will support them that the frequency of complaints will drop.

To begin the process, begin viewing your store through your customer’s eyes. What do they see when they first arrive?  How ado your team members approach them?  How long does it take for them to be served?  How efficient is the sales and checkout process?

After you have learned where the gaps and expectations are, you can create a logical format for not only handling customer issues, but for preventing them to begin with.  A great tool to assist you is RTS’ retail customer service training courseware.  Available off the shelf or customized to suit your specific business, we are here to support you.

The message is simple, if you develop systems designed to encourage the specific guest experience that you want – including proactive measures to avoid mistakes – you are far more likely to avoid complaints altogether – it’s that simple.