In the final of three articles, Susannah Hewson, owner of cxchange.ie, will share some tips on where you need to focus your efforts to improve your customer experience and your bottom line.
We’ve established what Customer Experience (CX) is andthat it’ s the key differentiator and driver for business growth. We’ve also identified the six key emotional drivers of customer experience. In this article, I’ll give you some tips on where to focus your efforts in order to improve your customer experience and increase sales.
Address the biggest barrier
The biggest barrier (by far) when it comes to delivering good customer experience is being busy. It often amazes me how busy staff are. There are so many tasks to take care of; deliveries, pricing/tagging, keeping the store tidy, and often security, all while also looking after customers. You can see how something has to give. Often, the tasks seem bigger to staff so they get stuck-in to them, despite customers walking around. I’ve heard brilliant staff say to me “Sometimes, I’m
really busy restocking and I see a customer coming towards me, I just want to tell them to go away”.
The tasks need to be done and an additional resource isn’t an option, but it is important to explore if there are better ways to do this. Boots had a similar problem and they ran a pilot in one store, moving deliveries and restocking tasks to before opening times. This freed up staff to look after customers only. The result was a significant uplift in revenue, so they rolled it out in all stores. A lot of customers won’t wait around if they need assistance and it’s an enormously wasted opportunity to lose those sales, given how much it costs to try to get them
through the door in the first place.
Get your staff on board
Your staff should understand the importance of customer experience from the business perspective, but also from their own. CX is rewarding – it feels good to help customers and we should empower staff to provide the best experience they can.
With a CX focus, staff are far more engaged in their jobs and engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave the company. It’s also important to get them involved in the design of the customer focus, after all, they know your customers better
than anyone. By getting them involved and listening to their ideas, they’re far more committed to delivering on it, which means it’s from the heart and the customer will feel that.
Back to basics
The basics are often lost due to being too busy or we don’t often train staff to connect with customers when they join the company. If you watch your own staff or other staff when you’re out shopping yourself, you’ll notice that a lot of transactions occur with very little engagement. Their eye focuses on the task
– taking & scanning the item, taking payment etc, often without any eye contact. Eye contact is the easiest way to connect with a customer, even when it’s busy. Acknowledging customers is essential, particularly if your premises are large. It’s such an empty feeling walking into a retail environment and not being
acknowledged. A simple wave from across the room makes such a difference. It’s also important as a lot of customers won’t come and ask for help and if you’ve acknowledged them, they’re more likely to come over to you as opposed to walking out the door without making a purchase.
Different customers – different experiences
Your business needs to recognise that every single customer is different and therefore requires a different experience. We can’t treat all customers the same as it feels robotic for customers (and staff too!) and no connection will be made.
People tend to shop with businesses based on how the people there make them feel. It’s essential to take the opportunity to connect while it’s there. Look at who’s in front of you and give them an experience based on that.
Customer experience is an essential tool for all businesses. It will lock your customers in for longer, ensure they spend more and recommend you to others. Start your focus today to see your bottom-line increase.
Susannah will be providing a day training programme for owners and senior managers in the Spring training schedule, please see page 38 of the latest Hardware Journal or click here for further details.
This Business Support article appeared in the November/December 2019 edition of The Hardware Journal.