Advice To SMB Retailers

Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Posted by Robert Beagle



By Bruce Serbin

Black Friday will bring millions of holiday shoppers flooding stores all across the country.  Not only is it an important day for sales, but even more important is the chance retailers have to win customers over for life.

Croix Sather, founder of Life by Design, and a business coach, says customer service is crucial over the next few days. 

His advice to retailers:

-        Leave your customers wanting more - Shock your customers with something amazing that will blow them away. Apple does this in every product launch and every product is a leap forward in technology. Fly first class on Virgin America and you will never go back to the traditional American air carrier’s first class.

-        Do the unexpected – what can you do that is fun, exciting and leaves your customers thinking, “Wow, this is great!”  Shock and awe them into talking about you or your company.  Is there a special gift you can send them? How about a hand written note saying thank you for being a valued client? Almost nobody sends handwritten notes anymore, so you will stand out. What about a phone call just to check in and see if you can answer any questions? No sales pitch, just to be more awesome for your customers.

-        Be ready for the crowds – Your stores will have more traffic than usual over the next few days, so making sure you have enough staff is a given, but make sure your team is ready to handle multiple customers demanding their attention; make sure they are knowledgeable about your products; and most importantly, make sure they listen to the needs of your customers.   

-        Handle complaints properly – Not all customers are happy customers, but this is actually an opportunity to make it right and win them over.  Defuse the situation by offering solutions, staying calm and polite no matter how irate the customer is, and apologizing for the mistake and inconvenience.

-        Be fast but not sloppy – Speed is an integral part of service.  Customers want things quickly, and if you can’t meet their needs someone else will.  The key, of course, is to be fast but remember that accuracy still counts.