As retail continues to recover in post-pandemic Britain, competition is fierce so it’s more important than ever that you offer the highest level of customer service, both online and in-store. Service is the single most important differentiator after price and product availability, but it’s also the easiest to get wrong.
You may think your customer service is already top notch, or that there’s little which you can improve upon, however we hope this blog offers some food for thought in areas which you many not have previously considered. Here are our top tips on how to keep your existing customers coming back for more, while also winning new business away from your competitors.
We’ve already mentioned existing customer so let’s begin with ways in which you can really wow them with market-leading service, beginning with acknowledging and rewarding their loyalty.
The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20% – Marketing Metrics
Show your customers some love
We all love a freebie or a discount and when a retailer gives you something for nothing, you feel compelled to use it. Whether it’s loyalty points, a discount code or a free gift with a purchase, rewarding your customers is one of the many ways that major high street brands build trust and loyalty.
Remember the early days of the Boots Advantage Card? At the time, it was one of the most generous reward schemes in retail and it certainly worked when it came to winning business from rival, Superdrug. Nowadays the points have a lower monetary value but die-hard Boots customers still love it.
A well-organised customer reward or loyalty scheme can do wonders for your business, encouraging consumers away from your competitors and building repeat custom from your loyal fans. If you don’t have one in place, check out our blog on the things you should consider when setting up a scheme here.
It costs 6–7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one – Bain & Company.
Get to know your customers
While this can be tricky when direct customer contact is reduced (think covid and the move to online shopping) knowing what make your customers tick is worth its weight in gold. It allows you to make a connection with them and gives you the edge as they develop a positive emotional response to your brand.
If you have a sophisticated retail management system, you can profile your customers based on their purchase history and any other data you collect, and use this to interact on a personal level. Whether that be at the till, over the phone or online, knowing that there is a new item in a range which they have previously purchased or that there is an offer on a product which they often buy, for example, will allow you to have a meaningful conversation with them about your products – and it shows you care!
This becomes even easier if you have a loyalty scheme (there it is again!) which enables you to reward customers based on their individual preferences and behaviour. With a clever system you can even automate this process so that the scheme effectively looks after your customers for you.
70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated – McKinsey
Make meaningful recommendations
If your retail system holds meaningful information about your customers, you can make product recommendations which add value to their shopping experience. You may call this upselling (which is what it really is) but the trick is to make recommendations which are tailored to the customer and are inherently helpful to them.
Think about it…how many times have you been offered a discounted bottle of perfume or clothing accessory at the till? If you really wanted one you would have already put it in your basket. But, what if that perfume is in the same range as the beauty products you’re about to purchase for Mother’s Day, or that accessory would go perfectly with the outfit your buying for an upcoming wedding?
Clever upselling not only boosts your sales and shifts stock, but it complements the items which you customer has already committed to buying so it’s an easy sell which enhances their purchase and tells your customer that you actually care. Sound complicated? A sophisticated retail solution can do this for you!
55% of customers would pay extra to guarantee a better service – Defaqto research
Provide a service, not just a product
As a retailer it’s easy to forget that you’re not just selling products, you’re selling a service. Imagine you walk into PC World and ask for help choosing the right laptop but it quickly becomes clear that the sales agent has no idea what they are talking about. You’d probably walk straight back out the door and that’s because you’re not getting the service you need. This applies online just as much as it does in-store and it’s not only important when selling technical products, it holds true for just about any product you can imagine.
It’s important that retailers know as much about their products as possible. Where would you rather shop? The sporting good store where you get advice on the best size tennis racket for your 10 year old child or the one where you have to work it out for yourself?
Good product knowledge is essential to providing excellent service but, if you sell a wide range or products with a large number of variants, it can be difficult to learn everything you need to know. However, a clever retail solution can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you by storing detailed information on each product so all you have to do is look it up. And, if your solution includes handheld, mobile devices like a tablet, your store assistants can have this information readily available and at their fingertips.
A customer is 4 times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related than price- or product-related – Bain & Company.
Great customer service is essential to retail success and it’s important to remember that price is not the main reason for customer churn, it is actually due to the overall poor quality of customer service (Accenture global customer satisfaction report 2021).
If your current retail management solution isn’t making a positive impact on the customer service you provide, it’s probably costing you more than you realise. OpSuite from RMS offers a suite of valuable features and functionality which ensures you serve your customers with the highest level of service. Why not book a demo and see it in action? Call our expert team on 0800 138 0050 or via our contact form here.