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Exceeding customer expectations through exceptional customer service

19 May 2021 | Lesson Desk Team3 min read

Sales has always been known as the heartbeat of the retail industry. However, what many fail to realise is that providing excellent customer service is what turns casual purchasers into loyal and committed customers. Studies have shown that 81% of companies with strong capabilities for delivering good customer experiences are outperforming their competitors. Skilled salespeople, responsive communication, and showing empathy for customer needs are just a few aspects your company can drive to ensure positive outcomes and customer experiences.

Training your retail employees is the best start in this direction, but it is no secret that the challenges in retail training and development, such as training seasonal workers, finding the time to train and overcoming language barriers, are hard to overcome. By understanding the importance of customer service and with the help of modern training technologies, these challenges are not impossible to beat.

Retail customer service is providing your shoppers with assistance, helping them solve day-to-day problems and exceeding their expectations. However, there are industry-specific factors that make learning and honing retail customer service skills absolutely critical. Doing so will lead to more knowledgeable and empowered employees, which in turn will allow for happier and more loyal customers.

Whether customers are purchasing an item for a loved one or treating themselves to something special, it is imperative to remember that the joy of shopping is the sum of all aspects – the products, the people and the experience. While it's important to ensure there's enough stock and a variety of high-quality products available for purchase, the experience your employees deliver is a much bigger factor in deciding whether a customer will return to your store or not. But the customer experience doesn't end when the sale is made and leaves the store.

Today's consumers are also highly involved in rating, reading and sharing reviews of products and services online. They rely heavily on opinions from others in developing brand perceptions and making final purchase decisions. If your service is not both sufficient and efficient, it won't take long for customers to lose patience and loyalty.

In fact, 78% of consumers have not made an intended purchase because of poor service. It takes but one impolite or ill-informed employee to lose a customer for good. Fortunately, the opposite is also true.

Although retail customer service has always been vital, it's not always easy for retailers to provide the level of service they'd like. The changing landscape of consumer expectations, evolving technology, and various high-pressure facets within many retailers' businesses have left the idea of optimising customer service as an afterthought and make it difficult to stay relevant. However, the growth of online stores and the saturation of the retail space has created a scenario where dissatisfied customers can easily move on to a competitor - even those shoppers who have been loyal for years.

Due to complexities, drawbacks, and policies and procedures, it is inevitable that not every customer request can be addressed immediately. Nevertheless, ensuring that employees are informing customers on how long the issue is going to be resolved while also providing a viable reason is imperative. Providing training initiatives that will allow for employees to effectively follow the process of giving customers the right information about the problem and providing regular status updates will ensure satisfied, returning customers.

Communication is key. If customers can be confident that your business and its employees will provide prompt and hassle-free support concerning any questions around your business including, refund policies, operating times and product information, they are more likely to recommend your business over competitors and might even be more willing to pay a little bit more for your products.

Shoppers value their time – if they need to seek support, they want it to be an easy and efficient process. Customers also appreciate the input of knowledgeable employees and enjoy engaging with them, which is why having a continuous learning culture in your business to make sure your staff is always aware and prepared for any changes coming to your store and products is vital. But no matter how much you think your staff is prepared, there's always room for improvement.

This is why providing continuous customer service training for your employees to ensure that these expectations are met is vital.

Effective retail customer service training is about conveniently equipping your workforce to provide seamless experiences that tell the customer that you not only care about making the sale but also care about them being satisfied with their overall experience of their purchase. Good customer service training initiatives will improve business growth, help in identifying common problems, enhance brand reputation and will allow for more upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

In addition to ensuring effective customer service, improving the accessibility and quality of general information surrounding your business and its products will streamline the interaction between your employees and customer enquiries. Making sure your staff partakes in different kinds of soft skills training will also help in making them better prepared to handle all types of situations.

In a world where visits to brick-and-mortar stores are in slow decline, where retail commoditisation is prevalent, and where the industry is extremely competitive, it is clear that retailers don't have the luxury of failed customer service initiatives. Instead, using a flexible and convenient training solution for customer services will make processes more efficient and give your business a competitive edge.

Customer experience is now a competitive differentiator among retailers, and the retailer who can provide their shoppers with the best experience will prevail. Lesson Desk's training solutions are built with the retail industry in mind. With our mobile, virtual, and group training solutions that address all of the retail industry's training challenges, customer service training has never been easier. Visit our website for more on our solutions or contact our specialists to book a free demo: learn@lessondesk.com.