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Ten Tips For Handling Customers In Retail

lexxia By lexxia on
Badge: Advisor | Level: 20 | Careers & Work Expertise:

During my stint in the Retail world coupled with my time as a Customer Service Representative for a Cable company and piled onto that my time as CEO of my own company, I would hope that I have gleened a few things that may help others who are in the Retail sector. Whether working as a floor clerk, cashier, or your role is to stock shelves or greet customers, each employee in a retail sector has a valuable job to perform and that often includes dealing with the general public.

There is no doubt that next to Child care by in-home caregivers, working in the retail sector is by far one of the more taxing areas of employment for some people. You have those days when it seems that every customer has a complaint or they have had a bad day and they believe it's their perogative to rub a little of their mood onto you. Then there are those who pick up products then shove them on a shelf in an unrelated department which means more shelf restocking after running around collecting all the misplaced items.

So, how on earth can you make your job in Retail more enjoyable and less stressful? Glad you asked. This article offers you ten tips that will help you with one of the most difficult areas in Retail - dealing with customers! Follow along and see if there are any areas that might help you or someone you know who could use some of these tips right now.

1. Smile! It takes less muscles to smile than to frown and greeting customers with a smile announces to them that you are pleased to serve them (even if you aren't because your feet ache and your back hurts - this is were you can gain Grammy Award status!). You'll be surprised just how many customers you can actually cheer up just by turning on the charm!

2. Please and thank you. Two very small but very important words that hold a lot of impact with most customers. It takes so little time to say yet to your customers it just might be the most important thing you can do for them - show them respect and more often than not, it will be returned to you.

3. Respect your co-workers. No matter how difficult it may be, it's wise not to let your customers see you making rolly eyes or faces after your Supervisor has just told you to close out your cash and do a sweep of products that are misplaced or that need to be reshelved. For those who need to contact a department clerk for a price check, slamming the phone down and then speaking unflatteringly about them doesn't usually impress your customer either. If you will be unprofessional with co-workers will you be unprofessional with customers? You can bet that's what any customer near you just might be thinking. Don't give people the wrong impression and don't let your mood rub off on customers because you might just have a customer whose day hasn't been great and you've just put them on the alert. They could end up being rude to you and there you are...your mood even more eroded.

4. Greet each of your customers with a welcoming greeting! Jazz it up a bit. Try to say something to each customer that shows them you actually notice them. "Oh I really like your glasses, they really flatter you" or "How are you today, did you find everything you needed, or more!" You just never know who's having a rough day and your cheerful greeting just made it a whole lot better. This is infectious and it gets paid forward - besides, you are also ensuring that your customers will be much less likely to get upset with you about something. There will also be less customers willing to get rude with you if you "overthrow" them with your friendly greeting.

5. Overcharges & price checks: These areas are probably the most time consuming duties at the cash register and customers are often passionate about their money. They don't like giving more of it than necessary to businesses for goods. When a product rings up at the cash incorrectly and the customer states it is the wrong price it's far easier to have the price checked to satisfy the customer than outwardly indicate through either your expression or body language that this is a waste of your time. You may want to go on your break in 2 minutes and you know the department you need the price check from is notorious for taking their time, but trust me, if you are going to bend over backwards in any area of your job ... this is the area to do it in.

6. Floor staff have an important job as well and they are often some of the first people customers will come in contact with. When customers ask for assistance with something that may not be in your department always take the time to explain that the area they need help in isn't your area but you will be happy to find someone who can assist them. You've just placed your company a notch higher in the eyes of the customer's view of service.

7. Do a little extra. Regardless of what area of retail you work in, always take pride in your position and do just a little bit more than is expected of you. Maybe you are a cashier but while on your way to take your break you notice a bunch of merchandise that got knocked onto the floor. Take a few seconds to pick it up and put it were it belongs. Not in your job description? Perhaps not but you just might score a thanks from the person who works in that particular area and that makes for improved employee relations. Doing little extras also improve your chances of promotions and ensures customers to your store aren't tripping over things or worse, turned off by the unkept appearance of the store. Even though you may not think anyone is noticing? They will be and if they aren't? You deserve to be with a company who does!

8. Never ever talk about a customer who has just left your department, your cash or your area of responsibility. Other customers may hear this and you can never tell when the customer you've just talked about just might be related to the customer you're about to serve! It's always best to keep your opinions to yourself - at least until you are in an area where customers aren't.

9. Are customers always right? Certainly not and sometimes they'll be pretty obnoxious too but it's your job as a front line person who deals with the public, to diffuse any situation that indicates it could give the customer an opportunity to pounce. First, you acknowledge the customer's situation, next apologize for the inconvenience (even if you really don't mean it - use your acting skills here if you have to!) then offer to do what you can to rectify the situation by asking the customer how you can correct the situation or by offering to correct it in a certain way. If the customer is still irrate or difficult to deal with before you say something you'll regret, call for your supervisor and politely explain the situation and together with the customer attempt to come to an amicable solution.

10. Never, never, ever under any circumstances create a situation that antagonizes a customer. For example, a customer appears to be irritated by the length of time they've stood in line or waited to be served in a department. Failing to acknowledge the inconvenience could result in the customer being unnecessarily impatient as well. Diffuse the potential situation by apologizing for the delay or inconvenience, etc.

Remember, one of the most important keys to working in retail is not that the customer is always right...just that you do your job so well, you make them believe they are. It won't always be possible to keep every customer happy but the evidence that you have done your best will show up by how much more enjoyable your job actually becomes when you pay attention to your customers. Think of it this way - if you always treat your customers the way you expect to be treated as a customer? You will probably never go wrong.

The retail sector is an important one and the people in this sector not only deserve respect but they should emulate it. After all, respect is a two way street and when people don't receive respect they are more likely to reciprocate the same way and then all we have is unhappy people all around.

(This article 1475 words - thank you for reading!)