Customer Experiences: How Do Your Employees Shape Them?

My recent shopping experiences have been bad, to say the least. I have walked away feeling unfulfilled, and left empty handed. I do, however, still enjoy a trip for the physical ability to touch and see my purchases.

Call me old school, but I like the emotional aspect of shopping in person. In light of my recent lackluster trips, I started to wonder if my expectations are unreasonable. When browsing in a store, is it too much to ask for to feel like you’re number one? The answer is no. 

I think it’s time to remind all retailers what they can do to foster customer loyalty. Why is brand loyalty so important? Loyal customers are 5x as likely to repurchase, 5x as likely to forgive, 7x more likely to try a new offering, and 4x as likely to.

A warm greeting is key

One of the biggest gaps I’ve found when shopping is the difference in the employees. What set one store apart from another has not been who has the biggest or brightest store, or everything I was looking for, but my experience with the sales staff.

It is welcoming when you enter a store and are greeted with a warm smile and a hello. An employee engaging with me is one of my initial impressions of your brand. Sales staff gathering at the back, chatting, and ignoring me are all reasons I have walked out. If an associate doesn’t have time to say hello, I doubt they have time to help me. Make sure you’re providing sales training to ensure your staff understands the importance of acknowledging and interacting with employees. A basic hello shows customers you are ready and willing to assist them.

Product knowledge shows

That said, I have been to retail stores where employees engaged as soon as I walked in the door, but when I asked them questions, they seemed lost and not informed. As a customer, I expect that sales associates are aware of their product and brand. Asking questions only to get a blank stare is, in my mind, a reason not to return. Be certain your team is knowledgeable about products and services you sell. Establish a regular training program to keep them informed and ready to provide great service.

Last impressions matter

One of the last touchpoints that can either revive or put the nail in the coffin of an experience is the end transaction. When an employee asks how my shopping was, if I got what I was looking for, or how else they could help me, I feel I matter to the store. Some of the best experiences I’ve had are when an associate has found out I didn’t find what I was looking for and offered to call another location to find the product. Or, failing that, apologized and suggested an alternative product. Train employees to ask customers about their experience before scanning their purchases. Many retailers now have customer satisfaction surveys on their receipts. If you have a survey, encourage associates to point it out when they provide it. This way customers can fill it out when their experience is still top of mind.

Deliver great customer experiences

Employees can make or break a customer’s shopping experience, and the feeling of being number one when in your store. Retailers should check in often to find out if their staff are not only satisfied with their job but feel informed and up to date. Create a regular training program that prepares employees to provide the customer a priority experience. If you want loyal, return customers, roll out the red carpet for them, regardless of whether they make a purchase or not.

To effectively compete in the new omnichannel era, retailers must seamlessly blend digital and physical brand experiences. Are you ready to create a connected selling experience? Download the whitepaper titled, Five Steps Toward Reimagining the Physical Store to explore best practices.