Have you ever been transferred from person to person because the staff on hand couldn’t help solve your problem? One of the biggest things you can do for your customers is empower your staff.
What does that mean?
- Training. Make sure your staff is fully trained – not just on the products to sell, but also on how to troubleshoot and help solve customer problems. Yes, this is a time investment, but your customers will see the results when the first person they talk to helps them, rather than having to be shuffled to IT or management.
- The power to say yes. Give your sales associates and cashiers the power to say yes. If they have to call you over every time a customer wants to return something, or to give the customer a discount, the customer is the one who suffers (and so does your associate, who has to deal with an unhappy customer waiting for you to come help). Perhaps set a limit on what the sales associates and cashiers can do, but under that limit, give them the power to say yes at their discretion.
- Mobile problem solving. If you are a small boutique, it is no bother to walk to a computer to check inventory levels for a customer. But when you increase the size of the store, you escalate the inconvenience to the customer and the associate as they walk across the store to check a computer, and then walk back to look for the inventory, and then bring it to the customer… the time adds up fast. Can you incorporate mobile problem solving with an app for iPhone or iPad? You can use these same solutions for mobile checkout for customers, as well as other services.
The bottom line is to give your associates the training and tools they need to solve customer problems by themselves. Your customers will reap the benefits of fast and easy service, and your associates will feel a sense of pride in their work when they don’t need to ask for help or permission to help their customers.