Business Advice: How Can Stores Improve Their Customer Service?

Customer Service has gotten so bad in the last few years that it’s enough to make anyone cringe before calling somewhere or going into a business. It’s pushing customers toward online shopping where it’s less hassle. What can businesses do to turn around their offensive ways?
Do not complain to the customers
As stated in another article called Customer Service Etiquette, cashiers shouldn’t complain to the customers. But when management or the owner does it, it’s even worse. Recently, I called a small business to see if they had something in stock. The phone call turned into an hour long rant by the owner about their awful customers and the economy. Her frustration was understandable, but she came off as a bit mentally unstable. After that odd conversation, I felt uncomfortable going to her business and sent someone else. She still got the sale, but she missed out on the opportunity for any impulse purchases that I might have made.
Do not become too personal with the customers
It’s great when sales associates are friendly. But there is a personal line that shouldn’t be crossed. Customers shouldn’t fear entering a store because they are concerned about what favors may be asked. Sales associates have informed me that their job would be at-risk unless they reached their daily quota of in-store credit card applicants. Asking someone to apply is required, but guilt-tripping the customer into applying is inappropriate. I’ve also had sales associates ask questions to where it’s like an interrogation. Flirting with the customers in order to get them to make a purchase is also going too far.
Treat all customers the same
A store experience can vary greatly with each different associate. This shouldn’t happen. Stores should have set policies on helping customers with heavy items, returns, etc. For example, Lowe’s associates have assisted me with heavy items and even opened a register so I wouldn’t have to wait. They also helped with loading the item into my vehicle. But then I’ve known people to go into the same store and have a completely opposite experience.
Do not stalk the customers in the store
With the high level of theft that happens in stores, it’s understandable that the customers need some monitoring. However, some well placed security cameras and/or mirrors would make everyone feel more comfortable. It’s very hard for the customer to look around if they’re asked every 2 minutes if they need help (as if looking around isn’t allowed) or if they are watched so closely that they feel uncomfortable. I’ve left many stores without making a purchase because of being hassled by the sales associates.
Do not make customers wait
If a customer has to wait at the register longer than it takes for them to select what they want to buy then they are waiting too long. For example, I went into this small business a few years back that was mainly run by the owner. I stood there for twenty minutes waiting for him to ring up what I had in my hands and to cut about 2 feet of leather necklace cord while he was helping this lady who wanted to reset some jewelry. He finally told me to come back in about an hour. I was beyond furious considering I just happened to be in the area and didn’t live near his shop. It would have taken all of about 2 minutes for him to have helped me then returned to her. I haven’t been back since that happened.

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