How would you rate your customer service style?
When you’re running a lingerie store (or any small business, for that matter), how you treat your customers is everything. You want to make sure that they’re happy and that they keep coming back for more. Understanding this area and training your staff in it will be of huge benefit. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Learn the art of active listening
“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” At least, that’s according to author and all-round business guru Stephen R. Covey. The truth of the matter is that few of us take the time to digest what someone is telling us before we reply. When it comes to customer services, this can be a rather major problem. After all, there’s nothing worse than jumping to conclusions about what a customer needs from you and giving them completely the wrong advice or help.
Instead, you need to practice something known as ‘active listening,’ i.e. taking measures to really understand what someone is saying before we respond. One way to do so is to repeat what someone says to you in different words. For example, if a customer says “I’m looking for a black plunge bra,” you could respond with “We have a few black plunge bras in stock. What size are you looking for?” In repeating what is needed to yourself, you will affirm to the customer that the two of you are on the same page.
2. Open up your body language
Frankly, it doesn’t matter what you’re saying with your mouth if your body language is telling a whole different story. When you close off your body language, it shows in more ways than you currently know. Rather than standing there with your arms crossed, you need to make sure that you unfold your arms and keep the whole thing open. That way, customers will have no issue approaching you and your staff when they need something from you. This is an essential part of the transaction.
3. Avoid being defensive
There will be times when customers will complain. Whether they have a legitimate argument or not, you absolutely need to hear them out. The age-old saying goes, the customer is always right. When you’re a store owner, your gut reaction may be to defend the business and try to get them to understand where you’re coming from. Doing so is a PR nightmare. Instead, you should take the time to listen to what the customer is saying and do all you can to help rectify the problem.
It’s all about taking your emotions out of the equation. The most important thing here is that the customer walks away happy with the service you’ve given them.
4. Keep things light and airy
There’s being chatty and then there’s being too chatty. You need to make sure that you don’t overload the customer with information. After all, they are here to buy something and nothing more than that. Keep things as light as possible. You can ask the customer how they are, how their day’s been, or what they are looking for. However, if you get the impression that someone does not want to engage, this is your chance to step back and give them some space.
5. Offer rewards now and then
When was the last time that you gave something back to your customers? When people are loyal advocates of your business, it doesn’t hurt to reward them for that. You could offer some form of loyalty program, add them to a mailing list for promotions (with their permission, of course), or offer sporadic deals to customers that come to your store on a regular basis. The sky’s the limit.
By offering someone a reward for their business, you show them that you have a) noticed the fact that they keep coming back and b) that you value them and want to give a little back. Take the time to consider how this may enhance your customer service and what you can do to give people more than they expect.
6. Never be ‘too busy’ to help
Whether you’re offering services online or face-to-face, you need to be speedy about your responses. This rule goes for any messages you receive, phone calls, and even in-store enquiries. When someone comes to you with an issue, it’s important to make yourself available to them.
Now, that’s not to say that you should always drop what you’re doing and help them immediately. If you really are in the middle of something, let them know when you will be available to help them.
7. Leave a lasting impression
When you say goodbye to someone in your store, you need to make sure that you leave a lasting impression on them. The final words that you say to someone are often the ones that they recall the most vividly. So, what should you make them? Well, thanking someone for their business and saying that you hope they have a great day may do the trick. You could also tell them that if they need anything else, you will be ready to help them. It’s these extra words that could well make all the difference. They show you care.
8. Get some regular feedback
How on earth are you meant to know whether you’re doing a good job with your customer service if you never get any feedback? This is something that you need to ask for regularly from your customer base. Needless to say, there are many ways that you could ask for feedback. In-store, you may wish to have comment cards, if you fancy a direct way of hearing people’s thoughts on your service.
Of course, you should also ensure that people are able to give feedback quickly and easily online. Your e-commerce site could include a feedback form or you may even want to install a chat box so that people can message you speedily. Once you’ve assessed the feedback, you may find new ways to improve your customer service game and take it to the next level.
The impression you make on your customers — whether virtual or in person at your store — could make or break your business. Taking the time to ensure that you get this aspect of your company right is a savvy move and one that you really don’t want to put off. After all, when your customers are happily satisfied, business will keep coming your way.