How many times have you heard that question: at a check-out counter, at the end of a website transaction or the closing of a customer service call? I'll ask you another question: how many times did you believe the question was sincere?
The motivation of the of the company leadership is good: make sure the customer is "happy.' But if there's not a good program behind the question, it falls flat at best—or rings false at the worst.
Here are three things to add oomph to the question and deliver greater customer satisfaction from the inside out.
1. develop a plan
What's the procedure? If the customer couldn't find the size XLT shirt, how do you help him without making a disaster of the transaction that's already underway—and holding up the transactions of all the other customers?
Maybe you need a service ambassador who can swoop in to retrieve the MIA item with minimal disruption. Or perhaps, there's a backup cashier who can step in to open an additional register so others in line aren't stuck in a seemingly interminable line while the customer ahead of them is helped.
Whatever you do, create a step-by-step procedure so it feels seamless—and oh-so-pleasant—to customers.
2. practice and preach
It seems obvious, but stay with me for a moment. The employee querying the customer may be hoping desperately for a "yes," because she's not sure what to do if she hears a "no" instead. She want to help, but like a deer in the headlights, she may panic and freeze.
Be sure everyone—frontline and back-of-the-house—knows what the procedure is, and why it's so important to your customers and your business.
Practice it. Preach it. Because to be really impressive, it takes everyone working together to turn the trials into triumphs.
3. observe and innovate
It's possible that you don't offer what the customer is seeking. But if you don't ask and you don't track, you won't know. And that customer will find what she wants—and spend her money—somewhere else.
Are you listening? Pay attention and track the asks.
Those front-line employees should be your eyes and ears. With cultivation and intention, you can work together and find ways to deliver new products, or deliver existing products in meaningful new ways.
Set up a system that lets you track those asks. Create opportunities to hear from employees then act on what you've learned. Report back so they see how their ideas are used and you'll encourage them to keep up the great work.
fill that bag to the brim
Every company—whether it's selling to consumers or to other businesses—can apply these basic principles: plan and train, then observe and innovate. Fill your customers' bags to the brim—and you'll fill yours, as well.
If you'd like to talk about ways to capture more sales and profit with better employee training and product innovation, call Martha at 785.969.6203.
Tags: brand loyalty, profit, repeat sales, innovation, product development, revenue, marketing strategy, training, customer service