Progressive Grocer Independent

FEB 2016

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Customer Service Training position in the store. "We're always look- ing for good fts for all departments in the store," says Kim Mackenthun, owner of the Waconia, Minn., market. Te job application for every posi- tion asks if the applicant has a love for cooking or is a foodie. "We want to make sure our employ- ees can take care of our customers, help them fnd things, and help them make the right selections in the products they want and need," adds Mackenthun. Employee knowledge or taking the time to educate employees on products also can enhance customer service. "We always see product knowledge as integral to customer service," IDDBA's Johnson says. "We have a tremendous opportunity to educate consumers about our products, to teach them a little something about the product, whether it's transparence about how the product is made or whether it's a local ofering." Teaching employees about products and the nuts and bolts of the business can be fairly easy, but that's just the beginning of instilling good customer service practices. For example, good cus- tomer service isn't just a smile on an employee's face; an associate should display passion for helping a customer experience your brand. Remember that the employee isn't just what their job title says, they're also an ambassa- dor for the banner, and positive body language and tone of voice can go a long way toward showcasing your brand, Miick recommended. Train Next How do you teach body language? Tese nuances often trip up retailers. Hiring employees who smile and edu- cating them about your busi- ness are fairly cut-and-dried. Teaching them to be conscious of how their smallest reactions can afect the customer takes some efort. IDDBA ofers several one-page job guides (free to members and nonmembers) that can help retailers know what's important in customer service and remind employees what they've been taught. For example, the guide on body language suggests that employees use an open hand with the palm up when directing customers' atten- tion to a product. An open hand is more inviting during a conversation than a pointed fnger. Another suggestion is to avoid crossed arms, which can often be interpreted as indiference or even hostility. Instead, associates should steeple hands at chest level, which shows confdence. Other suggestions include maintaining good posture to portray confdence, facing customers directly with feet and shoulders toward them, and showing interest by leaning forward with a slight head tilt. For many employees, a lot of these "skills" will be natural to them, but instructing them to pay attention to their body movements — without making them self-conscious and awk- ward — will help ensure they're always embodying a welcoming posture. Another good suggestion from the IDDBA body language guide is to instruct employees always to acknowl- edge new customers who are wait- ing, even if they're busy with another customer. Tis can be as simple as a smile and eye contact to indicate they know that the customer is waiting. A 30 | Progressive Grocer Independent | February 2016 70% of sales are purchases by loyal customers. Increasing customer loyalty by 5% can increase profits by more than 65% on average, and growth by more than 100%. —Corvirtus

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