I’m a passionate advocate for great customer service. I love it when I receive great service and as my friends will testify, I hate it when it’s obviously absent. Unfortunately it’s more absent than in place these days in the stores I visit. What I see is the massive emphasis that most stores seem to have taken in focussing on discounting. It’s very rare you can walk past a store in a shopping centre these days without seeing a sale poster in the window.
Sure, retailers need to be competitive, but when one of their sole focuses to get customers to walk into their stores is to offer a discount, I believe they are on the slippery slope to permanently giving away precious margins. Once you start discounting as a strategy, you’re often stuck with it. It might be ok for some of the big players, yet Myer have been trying for some time to move away from this.
I would love to see more retailers focus on upping the in store customer experience. I don’t believe it’s that hard, yet we seem to have lost the simple art of focussing on customers and ensuring they walk out happy with their experience – whether they bought or not.
A consistently great customer experience provides numerous benefits and will certainly set you apart from your competition if you can crack this nut! Here’s a couple of these benefits:
- 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience (research from US company Walker Insights). That is a very high percentage of customers and sure it will vary depending on the product you are selling but for a number of retailers this is a definite opportunity – to sell the same (if not more products) and make more margin!
Tom O’Toole from the Beechworth Bakery group has said for years – “price is long forgotten if the service is great.”
- Customer centric companies are 60% more profitable compared to companies that are not focussed on the customer (source Deloitte & Touche). Another compelling reason to focus on getting the service experience right. A great experience drives stronger loyalty among customers, turning them into promoters who tend to buy more, stay with the business longer and recommend the business to their friends.
We have long supported this with one of our fundamental philosophies being “the rewarded customer, buys, multiplies and comes back.”
So come on retailers, not only will your customers love you and come back more often it’s great for business as well. An absolute win/win for customers, staff and the business. Let’s hope more retailers get the message and up the ante on their service experiences.
Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.