Developing Effective Customer Service StaffBY ARA Retail Institute
A sale now begins the first time a potential customer experiences your brand. And the way staff approach, interact with, learn about and introduce their product to customers is a strong part of sales and service in the world of retail. Great customer service is increasingly returning to centre stage as consumers crave a unique and personalised shopping experience.
Salespeople are essential to both the process of sales and service, and essential to retail success. Retailers realise the need for sales staff to both make a sale and provide a level of service that contributes to the development of a relationship with that customer which in turn inspires them to come back.
Effective sales people are the brand's interpreters, translators and educators, whose aim is to satisfy the needs of the customer and the retailer by working for the benefit of both. Ultimately, the aim of great sales people is to develop long-term relationships that provide the opportunity for future sales.
In the western world, most discretionary retail purchases are ‘wants’ rather than ‘needs’. ‘Wants’ are all about emotion. Many retailers are becoming savvy to this and leveraging the emotional connection customers have with their brands. When customers emotionally identify with a brand, the sales process becomes an adventure rather than a hard sell. The selling is already done before they walk through the store door and sales staff can concentrate on delivering a great experience.
Top retail sales people have several characteristics in common:
1. A positive attitude
Positivity toward the customer, toward the brand and products, toward working hard and being part of a team
2. ConfidenceIn their ability to perform and provide great service consistently, in their role as an ambassador for the brand
3. KnowledgeAbout merchandise, brand history, competitors and customers
4. Commitment to the customerUnderstanding that the primary role of great sales staff is to find out what the customer wants and needs to better their experience of life, and do everything possible to provide it for them
5. FlexibilityThe willingness and enthusiasm to do whatever is necessary to support the customer and the business
6. DecisivenessThe ability to make rapid decisions and personalise each customer interaction
7. A Drive for ImprovementA desire to perform consistently under pressure and to thrive on constant change and challenge
Aligning customer service strategies with brand policy is critical to the selection and development of sales staff.
Employees are the ones charged with bringing the customer service strategy to the customer. They are the tangible face of the brand and the personal connection to the customer. Therefore, retailers must always consider how to best select and prepare those who deliver it.
Many successful retailers today are specifically selecting staff with the above attributes, and developing their skills to connect their values to the values of the brand, deepening the connection between their staff and their customer base.
Developing effective customer service staff by aligning customer service strategies with brand policy builds long-term relationships between employees and customers, ultimately providing opportunities for future sales.
Looking to train your retail staff in Sales & Service? The ARA Retail Institute provides industry-leading workshops for developing effective customer service staff.
Find more information about the services provided by The ARA Retail Institute here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ARA Retail Institute
ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. The ARA Retail Institute is a Government Registered Training Organisation (RTO) making it fully qualified to offer retail education programs to ARA members and broader retail industry.