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10 ways to uplift your customer's retail experience

Thrive - rather than just survive - in todays retail market place, you need to start building better relationships with your customers. The key to establishing and maintaining good relationships with your customers is effective communication particularly the quality of the staff-to-customer communication that takes place within the four walls of your store. Here is how you can uplift your customer's retail experience next time they are in your store.

1) Greet your customers with sincerity and warmth
Customers these days expects a warm personal greeting and a salesperson need to consider three things: what you say, the tone of your voice and your body language. Greet your customer with interest and sincerity. Looking at a customer and not speaking any thing is even worse than not taking any notice of them at all. The greeting you use also needs to be appropriate to the person being greeted. Customize your greeting as per your customer's age and gender. When greeting customers you imagine that each of them is a guest visiting your home. This will help you to get the tone of your greeting right. Positive body language is essential. Without a smile and good eye contact, no greeting can achieve greatness.

2) Do not fence your customers
You may have been trained to stick to your customers like a chewing gum in their hair, but the fact is customers like to be given the space to move freely through the store especially when they first arrive. Pick your customer once they enter your store, greet them and be readily available as soon as they look around for assistance.

3) Already attending
All too often, you are attending a customer and another customer needs your attention without realizing that you are booked. Always show your willingness to assist the second customer and answer their query without actually leaving the first customer. Politely guide the second customer to another salesperson if he needs further attention.

4) Stay focused
Never underestimate the importance of your actions as well as your words. If you believe, that you can be distracted for a while without being noticed by your customer, you are likely to have underestimated the power of non-verbal communication. To build a better relationship, you need to stay focused and in tune with your customer. Hold eye contact as much as possible. Show you are actively listening by using positive acknowledgement such as 'OK', 'I understand'. Use open hand gestures also - but do not overdo it as too much movement can be distracting for your customer.

5) Probe, but don't pry
Asking too many questions will make your customers feel like they are being interrogated so avoid prolonged questioning and only gather the information you need. Find out enough to get the ball rolling, but as soon as you see the customer is looking around it is time to start focusing on products to meet their needs.

6) Information overload
It will be obvious if you panic and flood the customer with product information rather than relating product features and benefits specifically to their stated needs. To be effective, you need to first listen and understand what is important to the customer. Nothing puts off your customers shopping spirit more than walking with you all the way to a shelf to find out this is not what they are after.

7) Avoid making assumptions
All too often customers report that they are given irrelevant or unnecessary information and, they believe this is because the salesperson has made assumptions about them. A recurring annoyance among customers is that they are directed towards a particular product mainly based on price assumption alone - even though they have not at all disclosed their budget for the purchase to the salesperson. Act only on what you have been told.

8) Aggression doesn't pay
Customers often refer to salesperson as 'pushy people'. Customers feel that often these salesperson back them into a corner, seize control of the situation and act like they know more about what a customer need. Customers feel powerless to say no, so they reluctantly end up buying and secretly vow never to return. The problem with aggressive sales techniques is that they are short-sighted. You might achieve the sale this time and get appreciation by your peers but the customer is unlikely to return to be bullied again.

9) Adding on, to benefit all
Salesperson are often trained to close their sale by asking "if there is any thing else you would like" and this monotonous phrase often takes away the shopping thrill of your customers and they coyly say no. In fact, this is lazy to close your sale like this because it focuses on getting more money out of your customers, rather than finding what else they may need. Instead, suggest a complementary item or introduce a promotional scheme to your customers which they will surely appreciate and are likely to buy and benefit all.

10) Farewell with attitude
Customers want to know that you value them and that you are pleased they have chosen to shop with your store. Make your customers feel that it is important for your store that their shopping experience has been enjoyable - so don't let them leave your store without making sure they know these things. The most mugged feeling you can give to your customer is by leaving them alone at the checkpoint or cash counter and get vanished. Remember, it is not this one sale that will make you a thriver rather than a survivor, it is the repeat visits in the years to come.


Author: Raj Jain, Consultant - Franchise and EBO Retail


10 ways to uplift your customer's retail experience

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