Customer service often gets misinterpreted by the performances of the sales reps alone. The problem with this is of course, when the staff happens to have a bad day, much will be on the line. Leaving sales reps to bear such a burden is not only unfair, it is risky, inconsistent and not strategic.
Great organisations understand that there is more to customer service than what meets the eye. It starts with being thoughtful in anticipating customer’s needs, then there’s meticulous scenario planning on every possible problem encounters; and it also factors in every design component of the shopping experience that reflects the company’s posture towards service.
What separates a good from a great operator is all the preparations that happen behind the scene, leaving nothing to chance for a bad experience. We hope you would never look at customer service the same again after reading this.
Uh, did we say non-verbal cue? By this we are referring to the approaches employed towards customer greetings, as opposed to the scripts. In the mystery customer survey form for Levi’s, one of the first judging criteria is: whether or not customers are greeted within the first 30 seconds. The reason is obvious, everybody shall ever enter a Levi’s store without being acknowledged; be it a nod, a smile or a ‘how are you’, and greeted fast!
Of course, greeting extends more than just the speed of your delivery. There’s the element of the attitude in your tone, your observation of a customer’s unique tie, glasses, accent and mood, and how you use these cues to make split second decisions to connect with your customers.
In Tokyo and Seoul, it is not uncommon to see attendants bowing in the middle of the road to cars exiting the car park, welcoming and thanking customers for shopping at their department stores. In Brunei, the last time I paid for my groceries, the only ‘greetings’ I received was the cash register personnel starring at me mumbling: ‘member-card?’ So much for non-verbal gestures!
Your attention to visual merchandising tells a lot about your attitude towards customer service. If I need to walk through 8 aisles to find my bag of rice (so you can sell me some impulse items), I would rather forfeit your five-star supermarket for the convenience store around the corner that places the 10kg rice into my car boot, while I pay for it without having to leave my car.
If you are serious about your visual display, here are some questions you should consider: How organized are your shelves and your store layout? Does the sequence flow logically? Do you have a balanced range? How about your stock level? Can I always find what I’m looking for? Are the signs prominent enough to help me locate my dog food within seconds? Do you have a step ladder readily available, just incase I’m 4 feet tall and need to reach for the Dove shampoo on the top shelf?
And cleanliness. This should go (so) without saying.
(to be continued…)