So, instead of spending lots of money on new customer acquisition, it’s always a great idea to build relationships with your current customers too.
But how can a retailer like you get started on your customer service journey?
Whether you’re a retailer that struggles with customer service or you’re a retailer that’s striving to improve customer loyalty, today’s guide is tailor-made for you.
So, let’s get stuck in!
What is good customer service?
Good customer service means meeting your customers’ needs in a pleasant, timely, and efficient way.
And that applies regardless of the stage of the customer’s journey; before they buy, while they’re buying or after they’ve completed a sale.
Drilling down into customer service a little further, you’ll find that providing great customer service can take many forms.
It could be as straightforward as advising a customer about a product.
Or it could be something a little more technical where an employee speaks about a product in-depth or provides a live demo.
And it could even be welcoming and greeting a regular customer by name.
Several things are consistent in providing good customer service: friendliness, helpfulness, knowledgeable staff and personalising the retail customer’s experience.
Why is good customer service important?
Retailers who prioritise providing good customer service enjoy a whole host of benefits.
1. Good customer service improves sales and increases profitability.
It’s a fact that retailers who provide high levels of customer service are more profitable.
Recent research by Bain and Company found that increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25% - 95%.
Even better, 89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience.
2. Great customer service sets your company up for long-term success.
In a world of instant gratification and high expectations from customers, it’s unsurprising that those retailers who focus on excellent customer service are laying the foundations for long-term success.
Ultimately, providing omnichannel support shows your customers that you value their busy schedules and listen to them about how they like to engage with you.
9. Remember and appreciate your regular customers.
American author Dale Carnegie once memorably commented, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
We’ve all been into a store, restaurant or coffee shop, and we’ve been greeted by an employee who not only greets us by our name but also remembers our usual order.
It’s such an incredibly easy yet compelling tactic that is under-utilised in retail.
Regular customers aren’t looking for a party every time they enter your store.
A simple “Hello Victoria” or “Hi James” lets them know you value and remember them.
When you’re chatting with customers, active listening can also prove to be highly successful.
For example, if a customer mentions they’re away on holiday that weekend and then visit your store a month later, you could ask them about their holiday.
10. Proactively address any issues.
As a retailer, there’s a multitude of issues that can crop up during a typical week.
One week you could experience shipping issues; the next, it could be stock issues.
Regardless of what the actual issue is, face it head-on and address it with your customers.
For example, if you are experiencing shipping delays, don’t wait for the customer to notice and contact you.
Be proactive and contact the customer and let them know about the issue, how you are addressing it and when the problem will be fixed.
If there are serious issues, reassure your customers and let them know you will update them as soon as possible.
It’s also worth considering offering them a gesture of goodwill for the inconvenience caused, for example, £10 off their next order.
11. Add a personal touch.
While the likes of Amazon and eBay rely on complex algorithms to spit out information to help them customise their engagement with customers, you don’t have to.
As a local retailer, you have a distinct advantage over those global superpowers: your ability to add a personal touch to every customer interaction.
According to Trust Pilot, your online conversion rate can improve by roughly 8% when you include personalised consumer experiences.
As the old saying goes, “People like to buy from people”, so adding a personal touch will go a long way to your future success.
So, what could adding a personal touch look like for a retailer?
Firstly, you could give customers special attention in-store and help them choose a specific product that meets their particular needs.
Secondly, show the human face behind the company.
For example, if you’re a small retailer, you could write a hand-written thank you note, which is rarely done in the modern era but always appreciated by customers.
Whichever way you choose to personalise your customer’s experience, you can rest assured that they’ll remember it for all the right reasons.
12. Reward customer loyalty.
Customer loyalty in retail is much discussed but extremely challenging in our world of unlimited choice and a hyper-connected world where a customer in the UK can order something from China, and it arrives just days later.
However, creating a slick customer loyalty programme will help you increase profits, maintain customers and most importantly, make your customers feel appreciated.
Customer loyalty platforms come in various guises, but thankfully if you use AirPOS as your point of sale service, you’ll benefit from a robust customer loyalty program that is already linked to your AirPOS account.
AirPOS has a wide range of customer loyalty perks to help you service your customers with unique accounts and offers.
The loyalty program also allows you to take card payments and offer your customers an online shopping option.
And your customers will be delighted to shop with you again when you reward them with loyalty points.
With our clever inventory management system included in all AirPOS packages, too, you’ll always have enough inventory thanks to intelligent stock alert levels, helping you to ensure you never let down your customers.
3 examples of retail companies providing good customer service
Examples of good customer service take many forms.
But they all share one common trait: the companies put the customer first.
Here are three examples of companies that have provided great customer service.
1. Sainsbury’s having fun with customers.
Good customer service begins with understanding your customers.
Creating a connection with customers on their level is just as important as completing a sale.
Humour has the potential to provide excellent exposure for retailers.
Sainsbury’s provided a memorable example of humour and puns that hit all the right notes.
After all the media coverage a Twitter exchange between a customer and the official Sainsbury’s account got, you could say the retailer was in a good ‘plaice’.