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September 16, 2009

Give Your Customers the Confidence to Buy

by Marge Laney

by Marge Laney

The consumer has been beaten down and is not in a great mood.  Unemployment is at a 30 year high, and experts say the recovery is going to at least start out as a jobless recovery.  The US economy is driven by consumer spending and the consumer is not in the mood to spend.  Not a good scenario for a quick retail recovery.

Traffic is slow and what’s left of marketing efforts due to budget cuts are hard pressed to lure the list carrying, discount seeking shopper into your stores.  The challenge for retail in this environment is to make the most of the people who do come through the door.  Your store personnel have no control over the number of people that come into your stores, but they have total control of the experience each customer has once they’re inside. It is in this experience where your associates can give each customer the confidence to buy.

The worst thing you as a retailer can do in the current environment is ignore the customers who have taken the time to come into your store.  Leaving them to fend for themselves to locate products, or figure out on their own if a certain product is right for them can leave the customer feeling disrespected and uncared for.  These types of interactions definitely do not build loyalty!  Creating the confidence to buy is about making connections with each customer that builds trust.  That doesn’t mean just greeting them when they walk in or asking them if they found everything they needed when they are checking out.  It’s about being available when they have questions, providing information that helps them decide, and making them feel confident and good about buying in general and from you in particular.

The challenge is to have enough well trained associates to make the connections to create this confidence to buy in each customer that comes through your doors.  Today’s lean payroll environment has put extra pressure on already thin staffing models.  A retailers dream is to have each customer experience one-on-one service throughout their entire shopping trip.  But, retailers confuse personal service with one-on-one service.  This is not only impossible; it is unnecessary and annoying to most people.  Customers want to control the sales associate’s access to them.  Did I mention that the customer is time-stressed too?  When they want service they want it now!

Creating the confidence to buy means being there when your customer needs something.  This is where giving the customer control of their service relationship through service access technology can help.  The customer interacts with the service technology and requests help when they need something, not when your associates think they need it. Sales associates are more effective and happier too, because they are interacting and helping customers who want and need their help!

So, in your next conversations about customer service, talk about helping your associates create the confidence to buy in your customers and make sure you give them the technology tools they need to make it happen.

© Alert Technologies, Inc. 2009 

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