[Article written by: Andrew Jensen - see full article here]
When entering a store, most customers want to see an employee make a genuine effort to acknowledge and assist them. As a customer in a hurry, I might be just looking for one specific item and may need the assistance of the employee. However, if I am ignored and my time is wasted waiting for help, I will move on to another store. With so many online and physical retail options available now, if that first store doesn’t satisfy my needs, there is always another one that will. That store may very well have sold the product or service I was looking for. However, poor customer service cost them the sale.
Greeting the customer can often be the most important aspect to closing a sale. Take these 5 tips to ensure your customers never walk out your door dissatisfied:
1) Smile with your greeting.
Sam Walton was probably onto something when he hired employees to specifically greet customers entering the store. Customers want to hear words of greeting and see a smile. If the employee at the door appears grumpy and doesn’t even offer a simple “Hello. Welcome to Wal-Mart” the customer will most likely start their shopping experience off in the wrong mood.
2) Stop what you are doing.
Yes, you may be stocking the shelves or taking inventory. While these jobs are important to the everyday functions of the company, your customer is the reason you are stocking those shelves. A customer should be greeted within 30 seconds of entering your store. Stand up from your task and offer a smile and words of greeting. After offering assistance, you can return to the shelves.
3) Show, don’t tell.
When the customer enters your store, they will most likely inquire about a specific product. Rather than sending them to aisle 19, somewhere near the middle, on the 5th-7th shelf down, walk with them to the aisle. Take the time to show them exactly where the product is. It will only take a few seconds and your customer will appreciate your time and effort.
4) Ask questions.
Consider a hair salon that stocks dozens of different products that offer many different functions. If a customer comes in and wants hairspray, selling them just any hairspray won’t do. You may specifically ask them the type of hold, scent, and liquid, spritz, or mist they are looking for. Rather than deal with a customer complaint when the product doesn’t serve the desired function, take a moment to ask further, often imperative questions.
5) Dress professionally.
Because you will be the first face that a prospective customer sees, be sure to dress and act professionally. Avoid wearing provocative outfits that may offend customers. Rather, choose conservative, professional outfits that are appropriate for your work environment. If you present a neat, groomed appearance, your customers will feel more comfortable during a sales transaction.
The second a prospective customer walks through the door, they will be analyzing many aspects of your business. Be sure to offer them a warm, professional greeting, assistance, and quality customer service. Ignoring or downplaying their importance is dangerous for your company’s success. As Sam Walton once said, “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”