By Norm Rose
Jobber Nation welcomes a new columnist: Norm Rose, a sales training specialist and principal of Excel Sales Consulting Inc. His philosophy is that a positive attitude is the heart of all interactions with customers, whether brief or more complex, and can spell the difference between repeat business and driving customers to the competition. This month, he outlines the basic, everyday practices that turn a good retail counterperson into a great one.
The counterperson is very often, the human face of the jobber store; he or she is the one who interacts directly with customers all day long. So the attitude of the counterperson can have a direct effect on how well the store does, especially with in-person and walk-in traffic. A cheerful, friendly counterperson can actually build repeat sales and increase regular customer traffic; one with a lousy attitude can drive people away.
Great customer service is not rocket science; in fact, it’s really just common courtesy. Yet often when our store is busy, the phone is ringing or the email pinging, it’s easy to forget that customers are people just like you. They appreciate being acknowledged and made to feel that their business is important to you.
Here are some simple habits to practice every day. Really it’s just a variation on the Golden Rule: Treat people the way you’d like to be treated.
Be friendly as well as businesslike. That means smiling and greeting customers when they enter your store, even if you are busy and there are other customers waiting. If you recognize the customer, greet him or her by name; that simple gesture makes anyone feel special.
Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t help customers. If a customer is looking for a particular product or needs help finding the right size or type, you can still walk them over to the shelf while staying the required six feet apart.
Don’t rush the customer, even if you are rushed. Every customer is equally important. Be patient and willing to listen to their needs, even taking notes if that helps. No one wants to feel that they are wasting your time.
Take customers in order. If you need to take a phone call before serving the next customer in line, thank the customer who had to wait while you were on the phone. (Don’t merely apologize.) If several customers have been waiting in line for a while, take the caller’s info and offer to call them back. (Write it down so you don’t forget to do so!)
Never forget the add-on. Make it a practice to recommend at least one add-on item with every sale made. Customers will tell you whether they need it or not, and if they do, they will be grateful that you suggested it.
Say thank you. It really is true that customers are the reason you have a job. Thank them for their business at the end of the sales transaction, and mean it.
Norm Rose, founder of Excel Sales Consulting Inc., specializes in collaborating with clients to provide the highest quality of customized sales and customer service training programs onto market. Excel’s unique training programs start with a proven template of topics, and increasingly build on and customize the program to support individual clients’ needs.
Store Consistency Checklist and Evaluation for Inside Sales and Customer Service
Excellence in customer service is the heart of successful retailing or, in fact, any business that works directly with the public. How well is your team doing?
The following checklist, “Store Consistency Checklist and Evaluation for Inside Sales and Customer Service,” offers a template for codifying best practices, finding areas in need of fine-tuning or improvement, and ensuring that team members reach and maintain top-level customer service. Complete the evaluation, and then contact Norm (403-230-2330) or [email protected], to find out more about how to implement these best practices in your organization.