Conventional wisdom tells us that we should be able to deliver a better and more productive experience on slower days, but sometimes that’s actually more challenging when it’s slow than when we’re busy. We can inadvertently turn off a customer by being overly attentive, or simply miss our opportunity altogether.
Here are a few simple dos and don’ts for those slower times.
Don’t congregate at the door. In fact, don’t congregate anywhere, whether business is slow or not. But on slow days when shoppers can see that salespeople outnumber customers, some will skip coming into the store to browse if they see a gaggle of sales associates right at the door. If need be, someone can head to the backroom and do something back there until it picks up.
Don’t present a quiet store. As a customer, I’m hesitant to walk in to a quiet, empty store. I see it all of the time. A customer walks up to the lease line, looks around and then leaves. Even if you can’t do much about the empty part, you can address the quiet. Make sure you always have music playing, and on slower days consider playing more upbeat music to bring more energy to the store.
Don’t abruptly stop what you’re doing when the customer comes in. I know this sounds counterintuitive and contrary to what some retailers teach, but if you immediately stop what you’re doing the second a customer walks in, they often feel guilty for interrupting you. Just welcome the customer as you quickly (but not abruptly) get to a stopping place. The customer is always our first priority.
Don’t yell across the store to greet/welcome the customer. I know, you’re so happy to see a customer that you can’t wait to welcome him/her, but yelling does not make the best first impression. It can also communicate that whatever you’re doing somewhere in the store is more important than walking up to welcome them using a conversational tone of voice.
Do use open-ended questions when first engaging a customer. Some shoppers have a tendency to avoid conversing with a sales associate if they are the only person in the store. By using open-ended questions you give your customer a few extra seconds to get comfortable and warm up to you.
Do give your customer the space to shop at the pace they want. Sometimes when it’s slow we give each customer our full attention whether they want it or not. Customers will let us know by their answers to our questions and their body language if they want/need space. Over-attentiveness will run some customers right out the door; others will be thrilled to have you all to themselves. Read your customer and give them what they want.
Do reengage the customer who is looking around. We’ve always said that our involvement elevates the customer’s experience, but that doesn’t happen when you ask, “Are you finding everything alright?” or “Can I answer any questions?” Instead, bring the shopper a new product that just came in, or start telling them about the product they’re looking at. The key is to then direct the conversation away from the product and toward the customer. Learning just one or two things about his/her likes, dislikes, needs, and wants will help you find just the right item.
So let me ask, how can your team maximize your customer opportunities on slower days?
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.