Differentiate Your Retail Business By Giving Yourself A Customer Service Overhaul

Everyone knows that in order to succeed in a competitive retail marketplace it is important to provide great customer service. Yet many segments of the retail industry continue to struggle with reaching consistently good services standards.  Why do so many retailers struggle with this issue?  


Ultimately it comes down to three key factors:  First, retail management may not be recruiting and hiring team members who fit the behavioral profile necessary to provide crowning customer care.  Second, once they have been hired, the retail store staff may not know what is expected of them.  Third, management may only give lip service to the importance of maintaining high levels of customer service.


As with most business challenges, the key is ensuring that management – from the top levels of the company through the retail field managers to the store managers – is aligned and is executing.  With that in mind here are the 5 core activities that you can focus on to take decisive action and get your retail business on track for becoming a truly customer driven organization:


1. Recruit and hire people who demonstrate that they have a history of caring about other people:By developing your retail hiring profile  and then using behavioral interviewing techniques you can ensure that you are screening out potential employees who may not be represent your retail stores effectively. 

2. Ensure that your standards are clearly defined and communicated: Beginning with your employee handbook and retail operations manual, and then continuing through your new employee orientation and ongoing retail training programs you want to communicate your rules for and standards.  This should include the basics of customer care and how to handle difficult customer situations.

3. Measure performance, report on your results and celebrate victories:  What you do not measure, you cannot manage, so you will need to develop a performance scorecard for your stores.  Additionally, you will want to make sure your retail store managers have detailed discussions with your their team members about their individual performance during your weekly or monthly one-on-ones.


4. Promote team members who demonstrate your company’s customer centric values:  Clearly you will always want to promote retail employees who exceed your company’s sales and profit targets, but you should also ensure that your future leaders are true believers in your company’s customer service strategy.

5. Solve service issues immediately and at the initial point of contact:Customer service surveys have long shown that that as long as a problem is resolved quickly and to the customer's benefit, they will likely become a customer for life.  The key is to empower your retail employees to make decisions without having to escalate issues to management and give them the customer service training they need to execute your program.

Would you like to learn more about how you can improve the service levels in your stores?  Enroll in one of our customer service training courses or Contact us for a free one hour consultation so we can help you overhaul your retail customer experience.

–          David Goodwin is the Principal of the Retail Advocacy Group.  As a 30 year veteran of the retail industry he has hired, trained, and performance managed thousands of retail sales representatives and retail managers.  You can learn more about instructor-led, e-learning, and other training solutions for retailers at www.retailertrainingservices.com.