by Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor
Many years ago we started out working mostly with folks who serviced customers by phone. Fast forward, we now offer all six touch points of communication. Any way you can communicate with a customer, Telephone Doctor is of value.
This time, I’m talking to retail folks. Please don’t turn your hearing off on these tips just quite yet, as you’ll see, many can be used for all touch points. And sadly, all of these tips are from something that happened to me personally in the past few weeks. I don’t make these up! (I save them up.)
Please NO Gum – I walked into a retail store to buy a TV. There were three sales people waiting to help me. Two were chomping open mouth on their gum. One was not. Guess who I asked to help me? Right, the one who didn’t look like a cow having dinner. Hey, I’m not alone. Most people don’t want a salesperson chewing gum open mouthed while they are helped. (Worried about bad breath? Mints are fine.)
Eye Contact – In yet another store a while back, the head of the lady who helped me was on a spindle. She seemed to look everywhere but at me. That’s a no-no. If you’re not making eye contact with the customer it appears as though you’re not interested. You don’t need to stare into their eyes 100% of the time (that would be weird); however, maintaining some sort of eye contact with them every so often is a very good idea.
Don’t Point – Go Show – Whole Foods does it right. No matter who you ask about a product, they will walk with you to find it. And on the way they make some sort of rapport building conversation. It could be about the item you’re looking for or it might be about the great weather we have outside. Thank you Whole Foods. You ‘get it.’
“Can I help you?” is Mediocre – When someone comes into your retail establishment, rather than “can I help you?” to which 80% of the time the answer is “No thanks, I’m just looking,” be a bit more proactive. Something like, “We’re glad you’re here. My name is Nancy. Please ask for me when you’re ready, and if that’s now, let me know.” Something that says ‘we’re not average,’ ‘we’re special.’
Compliment Their Purchase – If you’re with them at the close of their purchase, it’s nice to say something positive about what they’ve bought. Doesn’t matter if it’s a new hammer or a new dress; there’s always something we can say that will make them feel as though they made the right purchase. And if you have a ‘fact’ about the product that helps, that cements it even further.
Don’t Deny Your Customer the Choice – Whether you’re in a large retail chain or a small boutique type store, not offering or suggesting what can help the customer is a big mistake. If someone has chosen an item and you know of something else that would complement it or be helpful to the purchase, it’s your duty to mention it. This is NOT BEING PUSHY. This is being helpful.
You, in all probability, know the stock and product pretty well. If someone purchases a Widget and you know that there’s a Widget organizer, it’s the right thing to ‘mention’ it as you’re closing out the purchase. Try it. It’s a great feeling when the customer says, “Yeah, I’d like that. Thanks!”
The list could go on of course; however, if you can master most of these six, you’ll see a remarkable difference in how customers react to you and to your establishment.