Qualities required Personal Professional Store qualitiesProviding all three is vital. Remember thatcustomers form impressions from a wide rangeof factors. We don’t know which one for eachcustomer, so we need to provide them all.
Personal Qualities - R Personal characteristics that make us feelcomfortable and secure with another person.Such as; friendliness, helpfulness, politeness anda genuine interest in what the customer wants.Combine these with being alert, tactful, patientand understanding and you will reinforce theimpression within the customers mind that youreally do care.
Personal Qualities continued Retail salespeople need a wide range of skills so that they can interact effectively with customers. They must also control, maintain and promote the store and its facilities to provide a complete “customer-focused” operation. These qualities & attributes set a comfortable environment and form a good relationship with customers.
Professional qualities - R These are the characteristics and skills that customers expect from a salesperson working in a particular store. These are developed with experience, training and practise. Credibility in the customers eyes is also vital as it leads to a level of trust and confidence in the salesperson, and in the store.
Professional qualities - continued Personal appearance is important and it should match the stores image. A salesperson MUST have a sound knowledge of the products being sold. Displaying both personal and professional qualities in providing customer service leads to profit for the store and an ongoing job for you.
ACTIVITY Develop a list of personal qualities other than those already noted that you look for, or expect from service providers and salespeople. Using these qualities and those already identified, select the 3 that you feel are the most important to you. Compare your answers with others and discuss the reasons for differences in your selections.
Store qualities - R These are such things as store layout, ease of access, clear aisles, good lighting and having the merchandise in stock. Other facilities may range from providing carry bags, automatic teller machines, home deliveries or public phones. These generally reflect the stores image and their pricing policy.
ACTIVITY 2 DO Develop a list of store facilities other than those already noted that you consider could contribute to a good service perception. Describe WHY you think each one is important from a customers point of view.
Difficult customers The aim is to retain them as customers. 96% of customers with a problem, do not complain – they just don’t come back. Of the 4% that do return, 95% of these will do business again with the store – if the problem is solved quickly; 54% - 70% will do business again if the problem is simply solved. This means if you have 4 complaints in a year probably means that you have 96 customers who have not returned and each will tell (WOM) about 20 others about it.
5 Main types of difficult customers1. Angry customers2. Impatient customers3. Intimidating customers4. Timid customers5. Talkative customers Each one can be dealt with successfully using the correct strategy.
Angry customers Ready to fight with whoever is in charge. May use abusive language, bang the counter, yell and point their finger Their expression of that anger is the difficulty, not the anger itself.
Impatient customers – 2 categories1. Store has made them unhappy – long lines, kept waiting, ignored.2. Those that always want things in a hurry – they will give off plenty of signals (loud sighing, tapping foot/fingers, clock watching) and can be picked up quickly by observant staff. Eye contact may stop the problem.
Intimidating customers Often know their problem is not legitimate and pick a junior so they can take advantage of their lack of experience or knowledge. Confrontation by senior staff & they may threaten legal action, consumer affairs and/or expose TV show. Often drop names of people in high places and threaten to get you fired. They love an audience, the more the better.
Timid customers Will apologise for coming back, then share with you their personal problems (this can also be a tactic to get sympathy). They can manipulate salespeople just as much as the angry or intimidating customers.
Talkative customers Time is costly in business and these customers are often older and lonely, however that may be, you are paid to do a job. Handled tactfully these customers can be a great advocate for you and your businessACTIVITYUse your own experience about returning merchandise and write abrief outline of the situation, listing what caused the problem
Strategies to use Recognize the two parts of the problem that need to be dealt with, the emotion and the facts. Addressing the emotion is the hardest part and also the part that can be very distressing, remember; IT IS NOT PERSONAL. You are the company in the customers eyes and that makes you the point of contact.
Barriers - often caused by the salesperson’s reaction. Contrary attitudes – disagreeing with the customer until they prove otherwise. Allowing bias to affect how we see and treat others. Jumping to conclusions and rushing to make a decision without all the facts. Some of these are caused by wanting to get rid of the stressful situation as fast as possible. When the customer uses abusive language, it is an easy trap to fall into.
The 4 step strategy = AQUAWhen a customer sees red – use AQUAA = acknowledge – both emotion and facts, empathise, don’t sympathise, use non-defensive phrases.Q = question – after customer has stated initial problems then ask the what, when, which, why, where, who, how. Closed Q’s = specificsU = understand – ensure ALL information has been given, know the store’s policies & procedures, treat people as individuals and consider alternatives if required.A = answer – calmly & convincingly, If necessary take action immediately and document all. A choice of solutions is best if possible.
Special needs customers Goods delivered Assist with carrying Helping navigate a pram through a store Language issues Cultural differences Disabilities
Cultural awareness in CS Religious observance Dietary requirements Language interpretation Information translation Payment/currency knowledge Product knowledgeREMEMBER:be aware of verbal AND non-verbal communication
Verbal communication Speak clearly Speak slightly more slower than usual Do NOT speak more loudly than usual Avoid the use of slang (“are ya right”) Avoid the use of acronyms Use all courtesies (excuse me, thank you, it’s a pleasure etc.)
Non-verbal communication Do not intrude on personal space Avoid being too familiar Provide clear directions or information Use maps, pictorial information Write down information if necessary Avoid using gestures (thumbs up, OK symbol, pointing) instead, use the whole hand. Avoiding handing anything to Muslims with the left hand and when accepting something from an Arab or Asian, do so with both hands. Keep body contact to a minimum
Legislation requirements may include: Trade Practices Act Tobacco and Lottery Acts Liquor licensing regulations Sale of X and R rated products Sale of second hand goods Trading hours Transport, storage and handling of goods Anti-discrimination laws
NOTE: There are several pieces of legislation in Federal andState laws which cover discrimination in the workplace.There are four Commonwealth Acts:1. The Racial Discrimination Act 1976 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, national or ethnic origin, immigration (or that of a relative or associate);2. The Sex Discrimination Act (1984) prohibits direct and indirect discrimination with regard to sex, sexual harassment, marital status, pregnancy, and dismissal on the grounds of family responsibilities.3. The Disability Discrimination Act (1992) prohibits discrimination on the grounds of disability.4. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1987 prohibits breaches of human rights by the Commonwealth and discrimination in employment on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin, age, medical record, impairment, marital stereos, mental, intellectual or psychiatric disability, nationality, physical disability, sexual preference, trade union activity.
Remember Excellent customer service is up to YOU There are internal AND external customers Be aware of verbal AND non-verbal communications LISTEN to what the customer tells you RESPOND to a customers needs AND wants Sell-ups and Add-on sales are important and should be offered to help the customer, not just make sales Do NOT take comments about the store personally, they are often very emotional, find out what is the problem.