Create a Customer Experience Your Customers ‘want’ to Experience
Over my last two articles, I have discussed what I see as disturbing trends in Australian retailing: staff arguing with customers and team members not knowing, or seemingly not actually wanting to know, anything about the products that they are attempting to sell.
Rather than continuing to point out the ways retailers are leaving money on the table, I thought I’d take the ‘novel’ approach of offering a couple of solutions that I have personally tried, implemented and watched sales grow from (along with team morale) in major retailers across the country.
Allow and encourage your team to take home products.
Nothing will impress your customers more than interacting with a team member who can not only tell them the features of the product they’re interested in but will enthusiastically put the product in their hands and show them how owning it will benefit their lives.
The only way this is ever going to happen is if you encourage your team members to take products home and use it themselves. If you chat with your company reps, you will find most of them will gladly cut you some slack on pricing for a couple of ‘test models’ for the team to use.
Create a roster where you swap products around and encourage each team member to hold a 5-minute ‘show and tell’ on their product of the week at your sales meeting.
I guarantee you if you do nothing else, getting your product in the hands of your clients and showing them how to use and interact with it will cause an increase in sales conversions.
Customer empathy training.
Most retailers have some kind of sales training in place, but very few ever train their staff on how to deal with difficult interactions. Is it any wonder then when faced with a disgruntled customer your part-time university student will arc up and prepare themselves for battle?
Instead, consider getting a good customer service or empathy trainer to spend time with the team and arm them with the tools to defuse situations on the front line. You’ll create a calmer work environment, provide frameworks for each of your team to interact with each other and arm them with an invaluable skill set for life in general.
Fit for purpose.
Many, many moons ago I managed a large music store in Sydney. One of my team members always came to work dressed entirely in black, with a keychain fob with a fluffy yellow duck hanging from it. He had long hair, a beard and fully tattooed sleeves.
That team member was my most valuable sales guy in the Heavy Metal and Thrash area. The customers loved him, he knew his genre inside and out, and we consistently had higher sales in that one department than any other store in Australia.
Why? Because he was fit for purpose. When you’re looking at your current team are they each playing to their strengths? Every retail store requires merchandising, administration, sales and customer service. By placing your team members in areas where they will thrive may mean you need to redefine targets and key performance indicators (KPIs) but guarantees that you’ll have a store that is more profitable, happier, merchandised better and more productive.
Whatever way you cut it, retailing is a tough gig. By spending a little time and prepping your store and your team you can win the online battle for dollars, have happier and more productive teams and become known as a store that your customers love to shop in.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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