Three Easy Ways to Create a Great Customer Experience
How a trip to a local pizza shop reminded us of three customer experience basics.
By Kelly Campbell, Senior Marketing Manager
It was lunch time on a Friday. A coworker and I were in a hurry to grab some food while out running errands, and we stumbled upon a new pizza shop. “Oh, I’ve never seen this place before! Maybe we should try it?” I asked.
“Sure! Pizza sounds great,” my coworker agreed, and we made our way in.
Now, here’s where we’re going to pause with the story. This isn’t a fairy tale brand experience where the trumpets blare as soon as you walk through the doors. This was one of those unfortunate customer experiences that stopped us in our tracks as retail and sales marketers. We see retailers and brands put so much into delivering amazing experiences that it threw us for a loop when we walked into a shop that didn’t focus on that at all, especially being the newest shop on the block. Needless to say, by being the customers on the receiving end of a bad experience, it confirmed what we already know: there are a few simple things that any retailer, brand, or shop (big or small) can do to make sure they’re not scaring away their customers!
1. Establish a clean and welcoming purchase environment.
This may seem rudimentary, but there are many places out there that could use a little help when it comes to establishing a welcoming, inviting, on brand purchase environment. We’ve also seen some retailers suffer because they didn’t take care of this aspect of the experience (RIP Toys ‘R’ Us). This really is the make or break part of your experience because it can easily scare customers away if you don’t have the right elements playing out. From how you design your space, to how you display your products, to how you advertise your latest deals, to the music that plays in the background, all these little things add up to how your environment comes across to your customers. And don’t forget to make sure your outside vibe matches the inside vibe too! If you miss a bunch of these small things, they can add up to one big purchase environment issue.
Five starting questions you should ask yourself as you’re evaluating your space: 1) Is it clean? 2) Does it feel inviting? 3) Am I presenting my brand well? 4) Is the flow good? 5) Is my environment in tune with my branding? If you can’t answer those questions, then get your friends, family, or heck, even a third party agency, to mystery shop your space for you so that you can make sure it’s the best experience possible.
2. Train your employees to be enthusiastic, courteous, knowledgeable, and professional.
We’ve seen this one suffer a lot more than we probably should in our careers, but having great staff is key if you want to be successful. Once your customer has made it through the doors and past the environment, your next make-or-break moment is your staff. Here are some basic do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:
- DO be present in the store when the customer arrives. DON’T be somewhere else so that it takes them twice as long to find you if they have a question.
- DO greet the customer and be enthusiastic. DON’T be salesy, or on the flip side, standoffish or timid.
- DO offer assistance if the customer needs it. DON’T stand outside the door pressuring customers to take samples and beg to get them in the door.
- DO share a quick sale or deal update once the customer comes in. DON’T belabor the deal to death so that they just want to walk out the door.
- DO help your customer make the right decision based on their needs / desires. (“Are you looking for something light for lunch, or a whole pizza?” or “Can I answer any questions you have about the menu?”) DON’T let them fend for themselves if they look confused – they will leave if they are not being assisted in a friendly, helpful way.
- DO show off the features of your product if the customer has time. DON’T try to demo if the customer doesn’t have time or isn’t interested in that product in the first place.
- DO thank the customer as they leave. DON’T try to keep them in the store with additional chatting if they are trying to leave.
Those are just some do’s and don’ts based on personal experiences with retailers and stores, and these have become more important over the years. What do you think makes great customer service? Tag us @bdsmktg with your thoughts!
3. Don’t Forget About the Post-Purchase Experience
When you think of the post-purchase experience, you might think of sending emails to keep the customer engaged after they leave the store. However, the first five minutes after that purchase are your most important and influential when it comes to turning that customer into a loyal fan. From the way you package up their purchase, to how you thank them for coming in that day, to providing a 30% off voucher as they leave, there are so many small, thoughtful ways to make that customer feel excited about what they just bought. If you make your customer feel special as they leave, then they will continue to remember that and be enticed to come back for another great experience.
The stores that have done this well over and over again – Nordstrom (they walk around the register to personally hand the bag to you), Anthropologie (they wrap up your purchase like a gift), Lululemon (you get a super cool reusable bag and can have your pants hemmed for free) – have selected very specific, on-brand post-purchase tactics that are integrated into their entire customer service approach.
While our pizza shop experience wasn’t the greatest, it sure made great food for thought when it comes to marketing and creating an effective selling environment! With these three basic ingredients, you’re one step closer to building your recipe for retail success.