In all of the talk about online sales and technology dominating the future of retail, people are missing what Bruce Springsteen sang about in 1992.
I just want someone to talk to
And a little of that human touch
Just a little of that human touch.
Most people like experiences that are enhanced by the people. It doesn't mean they don't also buy online, but when given the opportunity they are more likely to do business with companies with which they feel a connection. The human touch, if you will.
Before disagreeing and citing your own shopping experiences, break down the difference between a store that employs people and one that delivers great customer experience enhanced by the human touch.
Here's an example. An independent bookstore can hire wonderful people, but if those wonderful people don't proactively engage customers and add value to their shopping experience, there is little, if any, human connection. In some cases, installation of a self-checkout counter would guarantee zero human touch. You'd probably only need one checkout machine since most customers would be using smartphones or tablets to buy their books online while they're in the store.
Compare that to the store that warmly welcomes customers. Staffers know regular customers by name. An employee is always roaming the store making recommendations, offering the customer a drink, entertaining the children, and creating a wonderful experience for each and every customer.
Those retail associates call customers to tell them that the new book by their favorite author is in. They host events and customer parties. While their prices are competitive they definitely are more expensive than Amazon, but their customers are okay with that. They appreciate and value the human touch.
Not every customer wants that human touch, and that's okay. Not every person is going to be your customer. But what you can't do is to move further away from the human touch. That's what differentiates you from everybody else.
Yes, technology gives the customer more options, but our future as retailers is dependent on the quality of our human touch.
Today your personal success is dependent on giving even more of that human touch. Some people will want to blow you off, or even use your store to shop online. They undoubtedly either don't know how much value you add to their shopping/buying experience, or they don't appreciate it, but either way you have nothing to lose by reaching out to them.
What you most certainly can't afford to do is to let that person influence what you do with the next customer and the next. Give them someone to talk to, and give them more of that human touch. It's what you do, and when you do it well you will succeed.
Doug Fleener is a proven retail and customer experience expert that helps companies dramatically improve their customer experience and their results. Visit our website or call Doug at 866-535-6331 to discuss how he can help you create an extraordinary experience and results.