If you run or manage a shop, customer service should be one of your top priorities. More importantly, it should stay there. Many stores really focus on customer service and creating a fantastic customer experience when they launch. They speak endlessly about how valuable customers are, how they need to keep them happy to grow, how the customers make the business and pay everyone’s wages and how they need to build a loyal customer base if they want to create a successful shop.

Then, over time, it gets left on the back burner, and service standards start to slide. Marketing, advertising, stock, staffing, training, financial issues and other areas begin to take focus, and the importance of the customer is long forgotten. In today’s world, it’s all too common to walk into a store, even a quiet one with not much going on, to find the staff engrossed in conversations with each other or moving the store around. Barely looking up to greet a customer, failing to put their personal discussions on hold while they serve and lacking more than a basic knowledge of their company, store or products. Customer service is out of the window.

If you are worried about the customer service standards in your store, or you’ve noticed a decrease in conversion or return customers, or even if you are just thinking about launching your first shop, here are some great ways to improve the customer service in your retail shop.

Make It Easy

Customer service isn’t all about how your staff speak and interact with your customers. It’s about the whole experience. From a customer entering your shop to them completing their purchase and leaving the store, everything should be easy. This is more important than ever know that so many customers are turning to online shopping for speed and convenience.

Your customers shouldn’t have to sort through products to find the size that they need. Or ask for help find the cables they need to go with the appliance that they want to buy. They shouldn’t have to consult a map to find the fitting rooms or squint to read price tags. They don’t want to have to find the torch on their phone because the store is too dark to see the detail on products or spend ten minutes waiting for a slow card payment. If they are returning a product, they shouldn’t face an interrogation or a series of forms. It can, and should, all be much easier than this.

Walk through your shop like a customer, even trying things on and completing a purchase. Make sure you can find everything, read details and that the layout makes sense. Ensure the walkways are open and uncrowded so that people can walk around comfortably. Check that the music and lighting levels are right and that the store is kept at a comfortable temperature. Look into retail credit card processing to make sure you can take payments efficiently. Make sure the experience is easy, it doesn’t need to be difficult.

Help your Staff

Your staff and their attitudes are at least as important as your store layout and ease of experience. You need to instil in them how important their role is. Explain that they do more than they know. Give them examples of people that come into your store. The young mums who haven’t spoken to an adult in days. The older adults who miss human contact. The disabled customers who need a little extra help and aren’t used to getting it. Tell them how much difference their attitude can make to someone’s day. It’s more than shopping. It’s conversation and contact. Excellent customer service can really make someone’s day.

You also need to give them the time to do this. There’s nothing more important than greeting customers and giving them time. So, let your staff no that it’s ok to leave other things for this. Don’t shout at them for not putting a delivery away quickly enough if they’ve spent that time with customers.

Reward Loyalty

Loyal customers are the backbone of your business. Yes, you want to reach a wide audience and find new customers. But, continually doing this is exhausting. More important is keeping them coming back. It’s easier, it’s constant traffic, and it helps you to grow your reputation. Great customer service and store set up help, but there’s nothing wrong with rewarding loyalty. Do this with a loyalty scheme offering something extra after so many purchases, or with simple things like remembering their names and details of their life. Listen to them when they speak to you and ask about things on future visits. People love being listened to.