Since starting my career, I've always been attracted to customer-facing roles. As an introvert, it was a pretty weird endeavour to be getting involved with. Nevertheless, I've always been really good at it and every time I fulfilled the needs of each customer, I too got a feeling of satisfaction.
Several years later, I started to get involved in the psychological side of sales and retail, meaning that I was able to understand and unpack what I was actually doing to the customers upon when interacting with them.
Little did I know, I was actually loosely following a sales framework used by sales teams around the world. Once I became more aware of the framework, I could use it for the greater good and increase my customer satisfaction.
This week I wanted to introduce you to this customer service framework so that you and your team can use it to be more in control of your customers' satisfaction.
Let's get down to it.
Before you do anything with your customers, build the relationship with them — forget about any sales spiel or pouncing on them straight away. Show them that you have a personality and that you genuinely care about them — if you don't, you're in the wrong job.
Ask more questions about them than talking about you, your shop or your products — it puts customers at ease and it helps them trust you more. Break the ice by asking them about the weather, ask them how their day is going or complement them (subtly, don't go overboard otherwise you'll make the customer sick!) — I'm sure you could think of better ice breakers but you get the idea, right?.
Whatever you have to do just try to get into a genuine and unforced conversation with them — give them your time and they'll do the same with you!
Understand Their Needs.
You've now built a nice foundation with your customers and have made them comfortable, you can now try to understand why they're in your shop.
Don't make any assumptions, start with a blank picture of their scenario in your head and ask open ended questions to help you build a detailed picture. What I mean by this is make sure that you prevent yourself from asking questions which can be answered by a "yes" or a "no". You want as much detail as possible from them.
For example, ask them "what do you need the outfit for?", "what time of the day/year will you be wearing this for?", "what colours do y0u prefer to wear?", "what fit/style's are you most comfortable with?" and so on...
When you have some downtime, get your team together to try and think of as many possible, keep them on their toes and ready for the next customer. You can even make this into a fun exercise by giving each team member a turn to think of a question in 5 seconds, if they can't think of one in 5 seconds or they've repeated a question previously mentioned by themselves or someone else then they're out of the game. Maybe treat the winner with a lunch!
Anyway, back to the main point. Asking your customers these questions helps you understand who they are and they help you build a mental bridge between them and your products.
Also, when they answer your questions make sure to show them that you're listening. You can do this by your body language by nodding your head, facial expressions, making eye contact or even verbally by responding back to them with follow-on questions.
This is where everything comes together nicely. Because you've got a really clear picture of their style, colour palette, comfort zone and what they're shopping for you can now give them advice and recommendations based on the answers they'r given you and because you've build trust with them, they will now value your professional advice. WIN WIN!!
When making recommendations, get as much feedback from them as possible. Asking them what they most like/dislike about the product — this will help you narrow down your other recommendations.
Conclude The Sale.
Some customers can be a bit timid so treat them with care and be extra careful, including when you ask for the sale. This can scare some customers off if done too aggressively. For me, the most comfortable way I ask for a sale is "is there anything else you're looking for today?" If the answer is yes, then go back to asking more questions. If no, then "great, let's put your items through the till".
Leave Feeling Special.
This part is usually left out, but for me everything else is pointless if they're not reminded at the end that you value their custom — genuinely. Customers can feel cheated, you've been so nice to them just to get the sale and then sent them on their way once you've got it. DON'T DO IT!!
Tell them to have a great day, if they bought the items for an event then tell them to enjoy themselves — compliments work well too (remind them that they'll look great in what they bought), feed their confidence. Even ask them to pop by, email in or tag you in their instagram posts with the items they bought and make sure to respond back.
Also, in this final part be sure to remind them of your frictionless returns policy, upcoming events/other way they can experience your brand and a way they can document their feedback based on their experience they've had with you — this is a way for you to continuously improve, double-down on the better aspects of the experience and a way for you to measure and score customer satisfaction. Take a look at NPS scoring.
To wrap this week up, I want to remind you that this isn't a set of rules but more of a structure to be able to give every single one of your customers a consistent experience. The content will always change with every customer so don't bother scripting anything but do be aware of how you want your brand to be represented to your customers.
Let know your thoughts on this subject, I would love to know what works and doesn't work for you.
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Until next time.