21 Simple Habits That Make An Outstanding Difference
As customers are asked to socially distance in queues for the privilege of spending their hard earned cash in your shop, How will they feel?
How they feel about their experience could well influence their desire to remain in the queue, or if they do, to return again (and again).
Little things can have a powerful influence on their decision. And these little things can be described as habits that, if practised consistently, can make an outstanding difference.
Once upon a time, a close friend witnessed a customer service miracle in action. He took his son to a local fast food restaurant, so he could have some lunch and play in the indoor playground. While he was waiting for his food to be ready, a woman approached the counter with a crushed polystyrene cup. She said, “This cup fell off of our table and broke. I need another drink and I need someone to come clean up our table and the floor.” The tone of her voice suggested that somehow the restaurant was responsible for her broken cup. And of course, there was no, “Hey I’m so sorry, one of my horrible children was fooling around and caused you a mess.”
It was then that right before his eyes the customer service miracle occurred. Rather than replying in kind with the same yone they had just gotten from the customer, the staff quickly gave her a new drink. Then a man appeared with a smile and said, “I would be glad to clean that up for you.” The staff never heard the words “thank you” from that customer, yet they acted as if they had. All were professional and conveyed an attitude that said, “We love having the opportunity to serve each and every person in this restaurant.”
Not surprisingly, the place is almost always busy. The restaurant is clean, the management supports the community with various school spirit fundraising nights, the food is better than most fast food, and most of all, the people that work there love being there, and it shows. The atmosphere they create is magnetic: it makes their customers want to keep coming back.
This customer service interaction was a living, breathing example of the 21 Simple Habits That Make An Outstanding Difference that are not that hard to follow. However, following them consistently can be a huge challenge. And if left to chance, they probably won’t be followed at all.
The 21 Habits…
If you work with customers in retail, take a look at the list and ask yourself how closely you follow the rules.
1. Smile when greeting a customer in person and on the phone (and yes, they can tell if you are smiling over the telephone!).
2. Use age-appropriate greetings, and avoid referring to older customers and women as “guys.”
3. Be proactive and ask how you may be of service.
4. Stay visible and available, but don’t hover – Say something like “if you need me, I’ll be over here.”
5. Don’t turn away, walk away, start to make a phone call, or duck beneath the counter as a customer approaches. (We’ve all had it happen to us – And if the customer feels you’re trying to avoid them, credibility and trust disappear fast)
6. The live customer standing in front of you takes precedence over someone who calls on the phone.
7. Never judge a book by its cover – give all customers the same attention regardless of their age or appearance.
The Store That Refused to Sell Oprah a Handbag
8. Keep food and drinks off the shop floor.
9. A customer doesn’t want to hear about your upcoming break.
10. Makes any personal calls when you’re on a break and out of earshot.
11. The correct answer is never “I don’t know” unless you add to it, “but I can find out for you.”
12. If a customer wants something that isn’t on display, go to the stock room and try to find it.
13. If the item isn’t in the stock room, offer to call another store or order it.
14. Learn to read body language to see if a customer could use some help.
15. Don’t let chatty customers monopolize your time if others are waiting.
16. Call for backup support if lines are forming.
17. Be discrete if a customer’s credit card is declined by asking if there is another method of payment he or she would like to use.
18. Never discuss customers in front of other customers (they’ll wonder what you’re saying about them once they leave).
19. Inspect merchandise before bagging it to make sure it’s not defective or the wrong size.
20. Make sure customers receive everything they’ve paid for before they leave your store.
21. Smile as you are saying goodbye and encourage the customer to come again – eg “Thank you and I hope to see you again soon.”
And here’s one more tip: if you can, give people more than what they expect.