Recently, we had written a blog listing out the skills every customer service representative must possess. But are the same skills required in a retail setup? Or do we need some other skills? What are the additional skills one needs to be successful in the retail sector? In this one, we share some must-have retail customer service skills.
Frontline employees in a retail setup directly affect the top line of a retail store. The interaction and engagement that these employees have with your customers make or break a transaction. Hence, it is important to hire the employees with the right set of customer service skills.
Here are must-have retail customer service skills.
1. Interpersonal Skills
Undoubtedly, this is the most important skill in a retail setup. Interpersonal skills are simply defined as the ability to communicate well with people, either individually or in groups. Every customer service representative must have the confidence to walk up to the customer and strike a conversation. Being a people’s person helps. Customers don’t want to talk with someone who is not comfortable or apprehensive about having a conversation. And how can you have good interpersonal skills? Try these simple pointers.
- Be well-groomed. Cleanliness and a professional appearance is very important. It also gives you more confidence.
- Smile. Even after a long chaotic day, SMILE. Even fake smiling helps. Smiling not only boosts your own mood but also enhances the mood of the person with whom one is holding a conversation. According to UCLA scientist Marco Iacoboni, when a person smiles, the mirror neurons in the other person also fire up, producing a series of reactions and neural activity associated with a smile. Hence, emotions from one person elicit similar responses in the other.
- Listen actively and ask the right questions. Listening to the customer actively helps them connect with you. Further, asking the right questions helps you find the right solution to their problem.
Customers are the reason for your business to exist – little wonder that a customer is called the king! They must feel important. Rather, you must make them feel important. Going up to them, striking a conversation, and helping them find what they need goes a long way in making them feel important.
In any retail setup, there are times when the footfall is either too high or too low. The ideal situation would be to have a uniform footfall throughout the day. However, that hardly ever happens. Hence, the frontline employees often find themselves in situations where they are handling multiple customers at the same time. But, they shouldn’t drop the ball on any of them. So, the ability to multi-task becomes very important.
Things get even tougher when one of the customers that the employee is dealing is unhappy or complaining. The employee shouldn’t let that affect the other transactions while ensuring to solve the unhappy customer’s grievance. The frontline employees should be able to handle this pressure and multi-task effectively.
This is one of the less discussed skills in retail; however, we deem it to be vital. Let’s take an example. On one of the days, a customer is throwing a party at his home, so, he empties the entire rack of soft-drinks. What is the responsibility of the employee here? The rack must be refilled immediately before some other customer asks for it. It is very difficult to predict the demand for every product at a daily level because the consumption is dependent on a lot of external factors. However, a great frontline employee must be able to anticipate such aberrations in stocks and get them refilled before another request comes floating in.
Furthermore, these employees should be proactive in anticipating the mood of the customer and mitigating any untoward situations accordingly. For instance, it is not a good idea to wait until the customer gets agitated before finding a resolution to the problem.
Frontline employees should take a proactive approach. If they sense a particular customer unhappy or agitated, they should walk upto them and work towards solving their problem.
Customers might not always find the product they are looking for. In such scenarios, if the frontline employees feel that there is another product that matches that the customer’s requirements, they should be able to sell it to them. Now, please do not assume that the employee is trying to be manipulative. This is about finding a solution that would be mutually beneficial for both the customer and the organization.
At the end of the day, the frontline employees should get customers to buy products from the store. For this, good persuasive skills are a must.
Some other skills that we believe are required to provide excellent CX in retail are:
These skills ensure that the particular frontline employee is capable of providing a top-class customer service at your store.
Are there any skills that we missed out on or that you look for when hiring a frontline employee? What skills do you look at while hiring in the retail sector? Please let us know in the comments.