Retail customer service is the process of fulfilling the various needs of the retail customer in the most effective and cost-efficient manner possible. Customer service can take on a variety of appearances, including:
Overall, the customer-facing goal when providing customer service is to help the consumer achieve whatever they’ve set out to achieve. In doing so, you’ll enhance the customer’s experience with your brand — building a sense of trust as you do.
In many cases, the individual will continually return to your company whenever they face a problem they know you can solve.
Consumers who learn to trust your brand (via your superb customer service) will become loyal followers. This means more opportunities to engage and sell to these individuals — at about one-fifth of the cost of acquiring a new customer.
While customer service may take various forms at any given time, there are a few universal best practices your teams should always follow…
There is no “standard” way of providing customer service to your audience. Every customer’s circumstances are unique in some way or another.
That said, your customer service efforts need to first consider factors such as:
To put a twist on the idea that “the customer is always right,” it may be more effective to operate under the idea that retailers must always know exactly what their customers need — and always be ready to give it to them.
It’s also worth noting that being too overbearing with your customer service efforts can unwittingly annoy your customers, and even cause them to shut down.
The best practice is to assume the role of fairy godmother when providing customer service to your patrons.
However, this isn’t to say that you should disappear when your customers aren’t actively looking for you. Rather, you want to always be at arm’s length, ready to jump back in at the exact moment your customers start looking for help — whether or not they actively request it.
There’s a fine line between popping in at the right time and being overbearing. This is one of the key reasons to learn as much as you can about your individual customers; the more you know about their needs and personalities, the better able you’ll be to swoop in right when they need you most.
Every customer service request provides another opportunity for your retail company to engage with a given consumer.
In some cases, the purpose of the engagement may be to salvage an otherwise poor experience. As Temkin Group found, loyal customers (i.e., those who have likely had positive customer service and other experiences with a given brand) are much more likely to forgive companies after a single negative experience.
In other cases, the opportunity may present itself to enhance the customer experience by upselling or cross-selling. For example, the case may be that you offer a higher-quality product, or a number of complementary products, that could enable a customer to achieve their goals more effectively.
Finally, you might decide to gather some social proof regarding your services after a given customer service engagement. The Voice of the Customer, as it’s come to be called, can provide valuable insight into your audience’s needs, as well as their expectations of your retail company.
By taking advantage of every customer service engagement you encounter, you’ll uncover hidden gems of value that will allow your business to grow in a variety of ways.
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