Retail Musings

"How can money be the root of all evil, when shopping is the cure for all sadness..." Elizabeth Taylor

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Posted by on in Customer Service
Telling Customers NOT to Complain

Complaint handling that discourages customers from speaking up includes all or some ofthese reactions:

  • apologies and nothing more
  • rejection
  • promises that aren't delivered
  • no response at all
  • rude treatment
  • being passed on to someone else
  • avoiding personal responsibility
  • nonverbal rejection
  • customer interview, or
  • customer interrogation

Apologies and Nothing More
A customer walks into a restaurant and leans against a freshly painted wall, leaving a paint smear on his coat.  All the staff members he talks to say they are sorry but there is no attempt to fix the situation.  "I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do."  The customer says, "They're very good at saying 'I'm sorry' but they don't do anything.  'Sorry' isn't good enough.

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Posted by on in Customer Service
What Customers Hate About You

Ever wondered what the top 6 things customers hate the most?   Here they are:

1.  NOT LISTENING:  This was the most cited reason customers dislike salespeople.thumbs down  Too many salespeople are more interested in what they are saying than listening to what their customers (or prospects) are trying to tell them.  They haven't learned the art of asking questions to probe for information.   There's a saying I learned many years ago that holds true "We were given two ears and one mouth - to be used in that order".  Listen twice as much as you talk.  Time is precious and when you don't listen you actually disrespect your customer or prospect.

2.  TALKING TOO MUCH:  It's not about:  "Boy, have I got a deal for you ... blah, blah, blah, blah".  Its about "Tell me about your business, your home, your garden, your dog (whatever the subject is)," listening intently and then providing information that meets your customer's/prospect's needs.  You can talk your way into a sale and then talk your way out.  

3.  LACK OF KNOWLEDGE:  There is no excuse for not knowing your 'stuff'.   You, of all people, should know your product knowledge, information about your business/company, delivery schedules - all the nuts and bolts.  When you know your stuff, someone asks you a question and you answer.  However, when you don't know your stuff and someone asks you a question... You look unprofessional and, at the worst, lazy.

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Posted by on in Customer Service
Telephone Customer Service

In today's high-tech world, the one communication tool that remains a constant is the telephone.  Using the telephone competently and courteously is essential to customer and client satisfaction.  Poor telephone etiquette can have a disastrous effect on your telephone customer service - and bottom line.

Here are some tips for providing excellent customer service:

Preparation:  Have a fair idea of what you are going to say in advance of your telephone call.  Have a mental script you can fall back on if the conversation wanders.
Introduction:  When we meet people face to face we often introduce ourselves with a handshake.  On the phone we must do this verbally by greeting the customer with genuine warmth.

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Posted by on in Customer Service
Retail Robots Begone!

I recently met a genuinely funny man ... funniness beams from him.  In fact, I'd met him a few months earlier at a seminar I was running on the Gold Coast but didn't realise it.
To ensure that mobile phones don't blast my seminars (because I want people to absorb what I'm saying, not just 'attend')  I always give people the choice of turning their phones off, onto vibrate, silent or leave them on.  The only thing is:  If they choose to keep it on and it rings in the seminar, they will be asked to stand and sing "I'm a little teapot" and do the actions.
Back to my story:  He came in late to the seminar and missed the message.

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Posted by on in Customer Service
10 Things Retailers Should NEVER Say...

We all know that a positive tone and language are highly important when it comes to good customer service, but many retailers still use phrases that may give the wrong image and negatively impact our customers' shopping experience. 
The following phrases used in a customer service setting can kill a sale and possibly lose a customer.
Here are some sayings retailers should avoid:
 

1. I Don't Know
Customers don't expect retailers to know everything, but when it comes to answering a product question or other enquiry, they do expect the salesperson to be confident enough in their knowledge of the business to provide an answer. 

Better: "That's a good question. Let me find out for you." 

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Posted by on in Customer Service
Recovering from an Upset Customer

Recognise that upset customers want to:

  • Be listened to and taken seriously
  • Have their problems understood and their distress relieved
  • Be compensated for their losses
  • Be reassured that you will handle their problems quickly
  • Avoid further inconvenience
  • Be treated with respect
  • Know that the person responsible understands that a problem happened
  • Be assured that the problem/s won’t happen again

You may not, of course, be able to give all that is wanted. 

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Posted by on in Customer Service
Chronic Complainers

Sometimes we need to draw the line between the upset customer with a legitimate problem and the chronic complainer who consumes our time with unreasonable demands.stop complaining.
First, make sure you’ve got a chronic complainer.  Here’s how you can tell:

  • They whinge about the way others speak and act toward them, and anything else they happen to think of.
  • They blame everything on someone else and don’t think about what they do to correct the situation.
  • They often fail to discuss their problems with the right people.  Instead, they moan to those who can’t do much to help them with their complaints.
  • You’ve tried the usual approaches and nothing seems to work.
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Posted by on in Customer Service
Enthusiasm!!!

Either this fellow is dead or my watch has stopped...Groucho Marx

Walk down your street or through your local shopping centre and look for enthusiastic retailers.  You'll have to check your watch.  It's as though the majority of them have been hit by a time delay spray.
Ardour; Fanaticism; Ebullience; Devotion; Eagerness; Excitement; Verve; Willingness; Eccentricity; Help; Devotion; Co-operation; Intensity; Obsessiveness; Vitality.
Do you think that's a tad over the top?  Perhaps you're scared of having this effect on people.

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Posted by on in Customer Service
Customers and Their Mobile Phones

Customers wake up to yourselves!   We are constantly hearing about the less than average service you experience in shops.  Clever shop owners are doing their utmost to make your shopping experience an enjoyable one - they're picking the right location for you; decorating the shop to delight you; have the music you like playing whilst you browse; stocking just the right products for you; pricing products at a pricepoint that appeals to you; employing and training staff on how to best take care of you.   And what are you doing?  You're talking, talking, talking on your ROTTEN MOBILE PHONES - expecting to get A1 service!
Are you mad?  Ever heard of the word discourteous?   Actually, let me be blunt ... it's just BLOODY RUDE!!
IF you want service, do you think there is a slight possibility that you could exist for a wee while without the phone glued to your ear?  Makes it rather difficult for staff to assist you. 

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Posted by on in Customer Service
Customer Loyalty

Retailers live or die based on one thing and one thing only - customer loyalty. While location, location, location is the mantra, and great margins help a lot, it is the repeat customer and word of mouth generated by loyal customers that drives true retail success.

It seems as though we are constantly faced with the issue of trying to find new customers. Most of us are obsessed with making sure our advertising, displays, and pricing all “scream out” to attract new customers. This focus on pursuing new customers is necessary, but, at the same time, it can wind up hurting us. Perhaps our focus really should be on the 20% of our clients who currently are our best customers.
This idea of focusing on the best current customers should be seen as an on-going opportunity.

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Posted by on in Customer Service
Challenging Customers

All customers might have been created equal, but some of them were dropped on their heads when they were very young.  The following represent a few customer types with the more recognisable and common traits that you will have to deal with.  Being able to recognise these traits is really the first step to successfully dealing with these challenging customers.

The Know It All:  The Know-It-Alls are the customers who try to make themselves feel important by making everyone around them feel inadequate or stupid.  Don't be tempted to play one-upmanship with these people or you'll never sell them anything.  The best approach is to be as professional as possible and give them as many compliments as you can.  Doing so makes them feel good about themselves, and then they might buy something.

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