In the ongoing series on implementing a successful retail culture, How Can I Motivate My Team When It Comes To Retail Selling?, we have touched on the importance of the customer journey, the manager’s mindset & the staff members role in generating sales. Today, let’s discover the 4th key element to growing your retail culture – your reception team.
- The Customer
- The Manager
- The Staff Member
- Your Reception
- Your Marketing
- Your Merchandising
A pleasant reception experience is essential to the success of any retail shop and spa business as they are the first people customers see. A top-notch reception team can increase your revenue without much effort by simply delivering on excellent customer service with each and every customer. Yes, the reception team tends to juggle a lot – interaction with managers, customers, teams, deliveries, ringing phones…. you name it. And they certainly manage a dynamic environment and situations while being professional at all times. But as your first and final points of contact, it is essential to enlist them in creating a pleasant journey for your customers.
From a customer’s point of view, the reception team IS you. They see no difference. Whether positive or negative, the reception team reinforces the feelings customers have while engaging with and shopping in your business. The smoother the customer journey, the more your customers will trust you and will leave with a feeling of satisfaction each and every time. The truth is that it’s not solely the products you stock that keep customers coming back. Customers, at their core, desire to frequent environments again and again that make them feel GOOD.
There is something called the Peak-end Rule, which was explained to me a long time ago as being, “ a natural and psychological thought process where people judge an experience largely based on how they felt at its peak (i.e., its most memorable point) and at its end, rather than based on the total sum or average of every moment of the experience.” Our brains are wired to remember the highest point of an experience as well as the end, no matter the in between. When are these critical points happening in your business? Can you identify them? And what reputation are they cementing for you? If you haven’t had an opportunity to reflect on this, I highly suggest testing your current environment through mystery shoppers or by simply asking existing clients for their honest feedback.
So how can you ensure that you have a strong reception team that delivers great customer experiences? There are 5 areas that you can help your team improve on right away:
A critical point of all good first impressions. Reception teams need to deliver efficiency and professionalism straight away regardless of what is happening in the moment. It is crucial to help your team understand what you want them to prioritize. Must the phone be answered within 3 rings for example? What happens if there are people in front of them? All great teams will honor your expectations so be clear as to what these practices are but remain open to listening to their feedback.
On a phone call, the reception team is able to create organic moments for up-selling and cross-selling with mindful open-ended questions, collect data and understand the customer’s needs before they even enter your business. Kind communication and setting expectations is important to lead the customer into having a positive experience with you. Having a reception meeting every month can also be helpful for clarifying questions your team might have on current protocols as well as for sharing learning experiences within the group.
Tidying, facing and restocking of retail products can be looked after by the reception team. This keeps your retail area presentable and easy to shop in. With my store and spa clients, I typically create sustainable systems and procedures for them that ensure this is done at certain times of the day and to high standards.
Creating a repeatable process and flow for your customer journey is key to ensure your customers feel good. It is important to train your team on how your business says hello & goodbye, how they offer recommendations or explain products and services, and more.
As you establish this flow it then becomes your standards and your customers will always feel confident about what they can expect when they shop with you.
Keeping detailed customer records will earn you your bread and butter! Your reception team is essential in this. With data your business can do so much. Are you launching a new retail line in store that’s organic? Well, thankfully, your database holds notes about specific customers who are ultra health conscious or tend to book an organic facial with you. They’d surely be interested in hearing about it. Or want to send out an appreciation discount to customers who have birthdays this month? Good news, you already have customer birthdays in your database. Data allows you to generate leads for many revenue initiatives and ensure that details are correct. Without capturing data, it becomes difficult to target your marketing so that it generates results (income!) for you. It is essential to train your team to do this and to carry out regular checks to ensure vital information is entered accurately in the system.
As the beginning and end contacts within your customer journey, the reception team becomes the biggest influence on retail sales. With a customer’s excellent experience comes their trust in your business and your expertise. Your reception team is in a role of service and its natural for customers to engage in genuine and meaningful conversations with them. These conversations can naturally lead to additional service bookings as well as retail product suggestions and purchases. There are many creative ways to organically create these moments. For example, I had a spa client that would spray the spa’s signature room spray in each shopping bag. Naturally, that sparked clients to ask what that pleasant scent was. She could never keep enough on the shelf!
Now, take your owner’s hat off and take me up on this exercise. Spend a day observing the experiences you have wherever you go. How do they make you feel? Why did you feel this way? I personally enjoy doing this exercise at any restaurant or hotel. Someone recently told me about their favorite Italian restaurant and how they are always welcome no matter how packed it is. They feel right at home and are greeted with open arms. They’ve never heard “let me see if I can find you a table or sit in the waiting area until we call you.” Tell me, which of the two above scenarios would you want to walk into?
“I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou
In our next article, join me in understanding the importance of a heavy hitter within your retail strategy – marketing. It is going to be an absolute eye opener.
Love retail and retail will love you back!
Valerie Delforge is the founder and CEO of Delforge Management Consulting LTD whom is dedicated to setting up spas and retail boutiques for ultimate success through expert bespoke programmes and accessible online workshops. Learn more about Delforge Management Consulting here: https://valeriedelforge.com/