Creating a positive experience beyond customer serviceBY Australian Retailers Association
Developing positive customer relationships, consumer loyalty and customer experience, starts with employees.
Sales and service have long been the foundation of retail. With rapid changes in technology, the economy and consumers social and environmental awareness surrounding the products they purchase, it’s now more important than ever for business to implement quality services.
When it comes to building relationships and customer loyalty, this is best achieved through curating a positive customer experience and the employees are the key component. As an employer, it’s important to invest in a superior workforce, whilst also putting in place measures to train and encourage staff development. This will in turn, establish a healthy service culture and perpetuate strong business growth.
Social media has played a huge role in customer service for retailers. Online social media platforms have empowered customers to comment openly and publicly when a service disappoints them, and this makes the provision for excellent service to be consistent, imperative. The way in which staff approach and interact with customers ultimately cements the foundations surrounding the type of service offered, so it’s important to get it right!
Recent advances in technology and the ongoing popularity of consumers opting to shop online has somewhat plagued the success of physical retailers. Despite this preference however, many consumers still enjoy shopping in-store and the customer service experience. This ongoing success of physical retailers generally resonates largely with sales people who are essential to the ongoing growth and success of retailing.
Along with investing in a superior workforce and ensuring the adequate training and development of staff, it’s important that employees know the product or service they are offering from the inside out. Employees are typically the first point of contact for customers and the face of the retail business, and customers rely on this. It’s important that employees understand the product or service they are offering and are ready to provide further information or answer questions effectively. Staff development days and ongoing product and service training are great for creating exceptional employee services. In addition to this, they also an ideal way of assisting employees in managing customer expectations and resolving any potential complaints.
It’s also important that employees be trained not only in products, but how to best use digital technology and the platforms that now form part of the customer experience. Regular touch points such as social media platforms, chat functions and websites are now utilised by retailers all over the world and allow business to communicate directly with its customers.
The frequent use of digital platforms allows customers to access information immediately about not only the business but also the competition. It’s for this reason that retailers need to ensure their employees are actively creating a positive service that extends further than just in-store customer service.
Consumers expect timely information about a product or service and it’s important that employees are not only on top of this but are managing online platforms effectively. This also includes responding to customer enquiries or in some cases complaints in a professional and timely matter in order to not only continue to create customer satisfaction and build brand loyalty, but also protect a business reputation.
With great service being a key component to retail success, It’s important that retailers continue to invest in their employees, who are evidently the backbone of the retail industry. In what is an extremely competitive industry, employment training and staff development are all key factors in the growth and success of any business.
Flyn Roberts is the talented Exhibition Manager of LifeInstyle and has spent 10 years working on the event and within the industry. For more information, visit lifeinstyle.com.au
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Australian Retailers Association
Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.