outlook_a01h_bannerGetting consumers into your store is only the half the battle. Once the consumer enters your store, it’s your job to convert them into buyers. There are hundreds of techniques to ensure a good customer experience; however focusing on just a few will go a long way.

Sales Team Scheduling
Making sure that you have enough staff available to serve your customers sounds simple enough, however, retailers continue to fall short. Pay close attention to your store traffic patterns and ensure that you are fully equipped to support your customers. If you see an increase in store traffic during normal lunch hours, have your employees take an early or late lunch so as not to miss any opportunity. In certain situations, being overstaffed can be equally as frustrating to customers as being understaffed. Matching your staffs schedules to traffic volume will help improve your chances of converting shoppers into buyers.
Greeting The Customer:
First impressions can make or break any relationship – and this holds especially true in the retail world. Whether this is a customers first visit to your store or their one hundredth, the initial feeling they experience will dictate the rest of the shopping experience. At the very least, you should always have an employee standing at the entrance of your store greeting your customers as they come in. An employee dressed in the retailers uniform, a name tag, a smile and a simple greeting is as easy as it gets and goes a long way. Now that your customer is feeling good about their visit to your store, make sure that all of your employees exude the necessary traits to continue the superior customer experience*:
  • Confidence: Eye contact, a firm hand shake and the ability to strike up a conversation with strangers is absolutely essential.
  • Proactive: A sales associate should always be one step ahead of the customer to gauge when someone needs help. Don’t wait for the problem to arise. Provide the answer before the customer even knows what they’re looking for.
  • Patience: Customers are all different – some are nice, others are mean. Some are relaxed, others are in a hurry. The patience to deal with all types of customers is vital.
  • Articulate & Knowledgeable: Sales associates must be able to communicate with the customers and have the ability to provide information when asked. If they don’t know the answer, they should go find someone who does right away.
  • Respectful: The customer might not always be right, but it’s the sales associate’s job to make them feel that way. Customers must be treated with respect, even in the most challenging situations.
  • Flexibility: When dealing with the public, things can go wrong. You have to be flexible enough to roll with the punches and think outside the box sometimes.
  • Innate Friendliness: Sales associates should be naturally friendly, it should not be an effort.
  • Ability to Multitask: There will always be several jobs that need to be done at once. Sales associates need to be able to support multiple customers and complete their store duties all while remaining calm, confident and friendly.
How To Communicate With Customers?
The worst possible question that you can ask your customer is ”Can I help you?” In almost every situation, the answer will be ”No, I’m just looking”. When communicating with your customers, you should never give them the easy way out and, instead, attempt to invitiate dialogue. Once the communication channel is open, try to understand what your customer is looking for and, in turn, convert them into a buyer. Here are some appropriate questions (and responses) that should be used when speaking with your customer:
Question: Hi, have you been in our store before?

Response 1: (if yes) ”Welcome back, let me show you a couple new items that we just got in.”
Response 2: (if no) ”Thanks for coming – let me show you around.”

Question : What can I help you find today?

Response 1: (if they know) ”I can assist you with that. Please let me show you where to go.”
Response 2: (if they don’t know) ”Let me show you some of our popular items.”

Question : I notice that you’re looking at {product name}, is there a particular project that you’re working on?

Response 1: (if yes) ”That’s great! Let me show you what else we have that can help.”
Response 2: (if no) ”Ok, let me tell you a little about this item.”

Question : Hi, how are you doing today?

Response 1: ”That’s great. What can I help you find today?”
Response 2: ”I’m sorry to hear that. How can I help get your day going in the right direction?”

Seeing The Customer Off:
Either the cash register attendent or the greeter are your last line of defense. This is your opporuntity to both sell more and make sure they leave feeling good about their experience. At the very least, your employee should ask “Did you find everything that you were looking for today?”. If not, have someone help them find the item. If yes, pay attention to what they purchased and see if there is an accompanying item that they might need (i.e. “I see that you have purchased a shovel and some flowers. A garden kneeler can go a long way in keeping you clean and preventing back problems while working the garden. Would you like to add one to your order?”). Regardless of their answer, be sure to thank the customer for shopping and welcome them back in the near future.