You might be looking at that headline wondering if this article should fall into the category of sales tactics, but it is all about customer service. It is about the way you engage with customers and how you make them feel – which also happens to be an indicator of whether or not they will want to do business with you again. And, although the examples focus on retail interactions, the lessons can work for any type of business or industry.
1. Engage with your initial greeting. Offer a strong, sincere welcome to make the customer feel comfortable and appreciated. The first impression sets the tone for the rest of your interaction with the customer.
2. Ask a question that will elicit a specific answer. Simply asking “May I help you?” is not enough. Ask the customer an open-ended question such as, “What can I help you find today?” The answer to that type of question will be more likely to offer specific information about how you can best serve the customer.
3. Ask a follow-up question. Often, this second question will be “Why?” Once you know what the customer is in search of, more knowledge about why it is needed or how it will be used may reveal additional selling opportunities. (Or simply the opportunity to be helpful by sharing some knowledge or expertise.)
4. Upsell. Those “additional selling opportunities” from the follow-up question and conversation with the customer can lead to appropriate upselling. Which, by the way, is a form of good customer service. For example, at Ace Hardware, if a customer comes in to buy a can of paint, the associate would be amiss if he or she did not ask about the customer’s project and whether any additional painting supplies are needed. It’s about making customers’ lives easier by ensuring they have everything they need the first time.
5. Make sure the customer is satisfied. Don’t forget to ask if there is anything else that the customer needs. Asking, “Did you find everything you needed today?” or “Is there anything else I can help you with?” gives the customer a chance to reflect and perhaps make an additional purchase. They may even let you know if there is an item that is out of stock – which is valuable business information for you as well as an opportunity to let the customer know when it will be available.
Bonus: One final tactic – never forget to say, “Thank you!” This is one of the most important tactics. Always end with an expression of gratitude for the customer and leave a strong last impression.
Interweaving customer service into the process of selling is essential. Hire the right people and train and motivate them to engage with the customers to provide an excellent customer experience.
Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
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