Progressive Grocer Independent

FEB 2016

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32 | Progressive Grocer Independent | February 2016 verbal "I'll be right with you" further enhances the acknowledgment. Part of good customer service is also being able to read the customer, which can be difcult, but the golden rule is always to treat the customer the way the customer wants to be treated. IDDBA also ofers a help- ful guide on how to build customer loyalty, with suggested responses to customer situations. If the customer appears rushed, employees should be efcient and not discuss other items, as the customer is in no mood for suggestive selling. If the customer acts purposeful, direct them to what they're look- ing for while showing interest in what they need the product for, and suggest solutions or complementary items. For customers who appear interested in what you're sampling, preparing or stocking, engage them in a food-related conversation. Tis is an excellent opportunity for employ- ees to show product knowledge, and they should feel free to share their experiences with the product. If the customer is completely uninterested, engagement should be kept to a minimum; the customer probably just wants to be left alone. A good way to judge a customer is to employ the GREAT method, available on IDDBA's website: Greet personally Recognize customers' need and reasons to buy Explore preferences Advocate products with information Thank them appreciatively. How Much Training? More than 80 percent of customers will come back because of the experi- ence they had in the store, according to research from Coronado, Calif.- based CustomerTink Corp. When it comes to actual sales, about 70 percent are made by loyal custom- ers, and increasing customer loyalty by 5 percent can boost store profts by more than 65 percent on average, GREAT Way to Sell As with life in general, employees have only a few seconds to make a good first impression on a customer. Teaching staff the GREAT sug- gestive-selling technique can help improve the experience all the way around. Greet personally: Use direct eye contact, a smile and a personalized greeting when encountering customers. If they are a regular, welcome them back to the store; if they are a new customer, include a few of the store's or department's most unique attributes in the greeting. Recognize customers' need and reasons to buy: Every customer coming in has a different need, and employees need to recognize and respect that need quickly. Visual cues can include looking at a watch (busy, in a rush) or holding an ad (price-conscious). If there are no visual cues, a quick question can determine the customer's need state. Explore preferences: Ask customers what they prefer. For example, if they're in the deli, do they prefer mild or spicy items, or do they want hot or cold foods? Advocate products with information: After finding out the customer's preference, always suggest two choices and describe each choice. Employees can share their own experience with the food or suggest complementary products that the employee likes. If something is the most popular product, mention it. Recommendations can build trust and loyalty. Thank them appreciatively: Never forget to thank the customer and let them know you appreciate their business. Reassure them that they made a great choice, and that you look forward to serving them again. Source: International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association and growth by more than 100 percent, according to Colorado Springs, Colo.- based Corvirtus. It's vitally important that staf are properly trained. Training has huge impact on the busi- ness. Simply increasing new-hire training by an hour can improve customer service satis- faction by 320 percent, according to PMI's 2014 How Hourly Workforces Work Survey. While new-hire training produces the greatest results, don't forget about ongoing training for current staf. Providing one hour of ongoing train- ing per week can increase customer service satisfaction by 167 percent, according the PMI survey. Ongo- ing training helps improve employee engagement, confdence and expertise, which naturally leads to better service, more upsells, repeat and referral busi- ness, higher employee productivity, and lower turnover. For truly efec- tive customer service training, retailers need to commit to the full rollout of a program, IDDBA's Johnson recommends. In the beginning, there can be a lot of excitement, but that can wane as the demands of running a business take their toll on owners and man- agement. "It is a challenge to keep the energy there," he acknowledges. "I think smaller retailers might have a bit more luck with consistency, with fewer locations to manage." PGI Customer Service Training An hour of new-hire training can improve customer service satisfaction by 320%. Providing an hour per week of ongoing training for current staff can increase customer service satisfaction by 167%. —PeopleMatter's 2014 How Hourly Workforces Work Survey

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