Why Customer Service in Physical Stores Needs to Improve Now!

Customer service in Australia has been a topic of concern from my point of view for many years. Even with the influx of big overseas retailers, the overall level of service that I receive is at best average. Yes, there are some stand outs occasionally, but too many retailers really struggle to even get the basics right.

I have been helping selected retailers to improve their service and sales for over 25 years and it’s still a challenge to get service right consistently.

Compare our customer service to the US, where so often their service has been praised, especially when tips are a factor. In such cases, team members receive a low hourly wage and rely on tips to supplement their income, leading to a more customer-focused approach. However, when I have been to the US I sometimes found this service can come across as artificial. On the other hand, when team members receive a higher hourly rate and aren’t dependent on tips, the service provided can be just as poor as in Australia.

Here there is a limited tipping culture, and tipping mainly applies to hospitality and not physical retailers. So, the key to providing excellent customer service in physical stores lies in recruiting the right people, clearly communicating expectations, providing proper training, and consistently following up. Retail is becoming increasingly competitive, and with numerous options available to consumers, retailers need to step up their game when it comes to service or risk losing customers.

To provide excellent customer service, it’s crucial to start with the basics. Acknowledge customers when they enter the store, greet them with a smile, and try to understand their needs to solve their problem. By getting these steps right, retailers can then move on to offering their loyalty program and additional products and services.

Get all this right and you have every chance the customer will buy and want to come back.

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.