Customer Service Impacts Sales
Technology is important but the basics still matterFebruary 14, 2013 By Bill Stewart, CEO and founder, Petra Industries
In the early days, customer service was arguably a retailer’s top focus. Today, offering the latest technology and being the first to debut the hottest product and accessory have become top priorities for most retailers. While that’s important, it often seems that good old-fashioned customer service has become an afterthought. Maybe it’s time to rethink our priorities.
According to a recent Forrester report, The Business Impact of Customer Experience, customer experience impacts customer loyalty, which impacts revenue. Other reports cite that enhanced customer service increases sales.With that in mind, let’s look at four customer service elements that impact retail sales: interactions during the sale, meeting customer needs, capitalizing on customer feedback, and pricing.
Interactions during the sale
What do customers experience when they interact with your sales team during a purchase? Technology is a must in retail sales interactions, but customers still value that personal touch. This means that in addition to interactivedisplays and mobile point-of-sale systems, you should employ a well-staffed and knowledgeable sales team. There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than being unable to operate an interactive display and not having a real person in close range to help or answer questions. Make sure you have adequate personnel to provide a personal level of service to each and every customer you encounter.
Do you have an automated phone system? When a customer calls how many prompts are they give before they actually speak to a live person? Many customers will hang up before completing the prompts and, just like that, you’ve missed a potential sale. Consider “secret shopping” your business on a regular basis by calling in and playing the role of a customer. This way you can evaluate whether your system enhances or weakens the overall customer experience, and then make the appropriate adjustments. Technology should be used to complement - not replace - personal one-to-one selling.
Meeting Customer Needs
Is your sales team solely focused on meeting a sales quota or are they truly focused on the customers’ needs? What about your product selection? Is your store properly merchandised to fulfill their needs? For example, if you’re a wireless retailer, your store should be stocked with a wide variety of cases, screenprotectors, headphones, chargers, Bluetooth products and other relevant wireless accessories. Your team should be trained to recognize customer needs and suggest accessories that complement their hardware purchases and enhance their lifestyle. True service is about caring for your customers and meeting their needs. Your team should be your strongest brand and product ambassador, and thus your best deal closers.