To make this your best year, care for and appreciate the consumers who keep you in business
If your goals for the new year include selling more mattresses, boosting your average ticket, opening new stores, expanding e-commerce or improving profits (and what retailer’s goals don’t include one or more of those?), start with strengthening your customer service.
Because without happy, satisfied customers, you have nothing. With them, you have repeat shoppers, good word-of-mouth, convincing testimonials — and stronger sales.
Here are key ways to improve the way you treat your customers from Yamarie Grullon, director of content strategy for ShopKeep, a New York-based provider of an iPad point-of-sale system:
1. Make the extra effort. Stellar customer service helps shoppers feel special, as though you care more about them than you care about racking sales. If a customer is new to town, offer restaurant recommendations. If they need delivery outside your normal schedule, make an exception. If you don’t carry the product a shopper wants, direct her to a respected competitor. Your efforts will be noted and appreciated.
2. Say their name. “If you need to turn over a customer to another employee, introduce your co-worker by name and make sure you use your customer’s name, as well. Referring to others by name … makes the experience feel personal, building a connection that’s hard to break,” Grullon writes in a September 2019 ShopKeep article.
3. Educate your team. Adequately train your whole team on a new product’s features and benefits before putting it on the sales floor or website so they can answer shoppers’ questions with confidence.
4. Don’t say, “I don’t know.” “When you say, ‘I don’t know,’ your customer hears, ‘I don’t care,’ ” Grullon says. A better response is “Let me look into that” or “Let me get you an answer” — and then follow up quickly to keep your word.
5. Fully explain your policies. Present every customer with information about comfort return/exchange policies, delivery procedures and warranties. Require customers to sign documents to indicate they’ve read and understand your policies. (Use an “I accept the terms” affirmation online). Grullon notes that this helps prevent misunderstandings and frustration later.
6. Practice patience. “Consider rewarding salespeople not just for hitting sales numbers but also for dealing with demanding customers successfully,” Grullon says.
7. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. They probably haven’t shopped for a mattress in years and aren’t looking forward to spending thousands of dollars. They might be intimated by the process or confused by the research they’ve done online. Compassionate understanding will go a long way toward soothing their concerns.
8. Be grateful. You cannot say “thank you” enough. Thank shoppers who didn’t buy for visiting the store and thank customers for their business. And you know how Sleep Savvy feels about thank-you notes (big fans!). Grullon agrees, saying, “Did one of your customers recently make a huge purchase? Send them a personal thank-you email, or drop a thank-you note (with a discount for future purchases) in their bag or mailbox.”