Retailers – Are You Hurting Your Customer Relations?

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Retailers and managers need to make sure every employee is focused on making customers feel welcome and valued, and they need to lead by example.

As a marketer and a consumer, I’ve witnessed customer irritations on many occasions. Most of these things may not cause your customer to complain, but it will undoubtedly affect how they feel about shopping in your store. As a retailer you need to step back and view, from a customers perspective, what you and your employees may be doing to damage customer relations.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but you’ll get the idea.

Ignoring or interrupting a customer to answer the phone. Don’t do this! The person who is standing in your store is there to make a purchase. The person calling on the phone may only be calling to check out prices or a similar inquiry – and you can bet your store isn’t the only one they’ll call for the same information. If you’re frequently having to answer a phone in your store, install an answering machine or sign up for voice messaging. You can always return the call when you’re not dealing with an in-store customer.

Not getting to know and use customer’s names. Of course no one can possibly remember every customer’s name, but you (and your staff!) should know the names of your most frequent. By using a customer’s name you’re acknowledging their importance and creating a positive relationship. A simple, “Hello Lisa, how are you today?”, can go a very long way towards customer loyalty. Depending on what you sell, it’s not always necessary to ask if the customer needs assistance, but at the very least, all your customers should be acknowledged with a smile and a hello.

Gossiping with Co-workers. This is something I see happening most often with “after school” workers, but I’ve witnessed it among all age groups. Have you ever been paying for your purchase and had to listen to a private (or what should be private!) conversation between employees? It’s not only annoying to customers, but it’s downright rude! A similar annoyance is an employee who’s clearly on a private call on their cell phone who “interrupts” their call to ring in your purchase. Your customers are made to feel like an intrusion on this employees time. Both of these occurrences offend customers and do little for your business reputation. Make certain your employees are paying 100% attention to your customers at all times.

“I don’t know” When asking about merchandise, there’s nothing more annoying to a customer than hearing “I don’t know”. Employees need to be familiar with all your merchandise or at the very least, know how to find the answer. This comes down to proper employee training.

Running out of stock. This is a huge problem for retail grocers and restaurants. It’s inevitable that it will happen occasionally, but if it’s happening to your customers more frequently, you can be assured that you’ve already lost valuable customers. If you find that you’re running out of stock, make certain you have a comparable substitute and then tighten up on your ordering practices.

Remember… a simple solution is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and observe what’s happening in your store and then take immediate measures to correct behaviour that doesn’t result in good customer relations.

write by rivera

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