Where did everybody go? You and I both have been in stores where it's hard to find someone who is available or willing to help you. And when you find someone, just how helpful are they? It seems to me that Customer Service has been downsized in this economy.
According to MSN Money's article "Customer Service Hall of Shame - How Companies were ranked", 77% of survey respondents expect the following from their customer service experience:
Knowledgeable Staff - 44%
Friendly Staff - 18%
Readily Available Staff - 15%
Having a knowledgeable staff is number one with a whopping 44%. The good news is that we don't have to downsize product knowledge when we downsize staff. Here are some high-impact, cost-effective steps you can take to keep your customers in the know:
1) Set the expectation - Communicate to your staff that product knowledge is a key to their success as well as yours.
2) Ask your customers - Do an informal survey and ask if they are getting the information they need to make purchase decisions.
3) Develop on-going training - Consistent product knowledge training and role-playing keeps your staff in the conversation.
4) Award product knowledge expertise - Recognize your employees who go above and beyond in communicating their knowledge with customers.
5) Share product questions - At weekly meetings, ask your staff to share product questions and how they responded.
6) Vendor participation - Ask your vendors to provide product training for your staff.
7) Product Events - Hold in-store events for your customers to learn more about your products and services and have your staff conduct the training.
As they say, knowledge is power. There is nothing more assuring for a customer to get answers they need about the products or services they want to buy. Make it easy for them. Choose to be a business that properly educates, trains, and motivates their staff to provide the best service possible.