Millennials and gen Z are demanding more personalised customer service nowadays. A bad attitude — a refusal to go above and beyond — simply won’t work anymore. Your retail business needs to provide top notch service in order to keep people walking back through that door again and again.
I have to admit that my own service expectations have declined through the decades. In my opinion, good service comes down to the person across the counter being pleasant. That, and expediting whatever they’re doing for me as quickly and accurately as possible.
Times are changing — consumers more demanding than ever.
A lot of consumers expect much more. They want to be regarded as important — treated like a friend. Businesses, particularly struggling SMEs, need to adapt to the times and realise how they treat customers is critical to survival.
There’s a convenience/grocery store I used to visit frequently for around 4 years straight. They sell high quality, local-sourced meat and vegetables, alcohol, snacks — whatever you need. They even bake a lot of their own goods onsite. The employees at this place were so nice during this time frame, I never thought I’d stop giving this place my patronage.
Then, as often happens, the younger customer service clerks that were working this place started to disappear — went off to college and such. One by one, the 5 awesome people I’d enjoyed conversation with and received excellent service from, started to be replaced by people with “issues.” These folks had and from what I’ve heard, still have negative attitudes and have turned a lot of former customers off.
Observe service employees carefully.
The owner is super-nice, a highly regarded entrepreneur in the area. But, he’s rarely there, and his employees there now are obviously loyal to showing up for work, but they don’t know how to treat customers. See, a service employee’s job is to “service” customers. Not to treat people like an annoyance, have expectations of the person across the counter from them, or treat one customer different than the next, etc.
There’s a fine line when it comes to top-notch, customer service, and the business I’m referring to is one we’ve all dealt with at some point. If you’re not watching your front-facing service employees, business is sure to go down. It’s important to get rid of the bad apples before they spoil the bunch.
The warning signs are easy to spot. Especially if you have undercover friends and acquaintances you can employ to visit your business and come to you with feedback. Mystery shoppers can also be sourced really easy via classified sites and various companies who offer this service.
Signs your service staff is hurting your business:
Make no mistake, if you hire people who aren’t cut out for front-facing retail service, your business will suffer. The majority of customers just want a pleasant, hassle free exchange. They’ll go elsewhere next time if the service is bumpy or if they’re not treated with respect.
Negative signs to look for in your retail business’s customer service employees:
- Employee is rude: Rudeness is highly subjective. However, rude people generally don’t smile, they ignore requests, don’t listen attentively, are too direct with people, are pushy, and make off-hand comments that are highly inappropriate.
- Employee treats every customer differently: Unless a customer is rude, there’s no reason to be bright and smiley with one person, then treat the next one in line completely different. Playing favorites is a no-no, and such behavior usually means the employee is judgemental or placing unfair expectations on your customers.
- Employee makes negative comments about the majority of customers: They’re not going to like everyone who comes through the doors. This is how life goes. However, when they have something bad to say about the majority of customers, there’s a good chance they act much differently toward them when you’re not around.
You really don’t want people like this working in the front-line, maybe in the back unloading trucks, but never around your customers. Take particular not when customers are complaining about your staff. Social media is a great place to look if you don’t spend a lot of time in your business (learn more about how to search for mentions of your business easily).
Some customers will complain no matter what. When a few or more complain about the same person(s), you need to take action. Be observant above all else — some bad ones are sure to slip through the cracks occasionally. Don’t be lazy when it comes to hiring service staff — or you’re simply flushing money down the toilet with every shift you let them work.
Main Image Credit: Budget Places/Flickr￼