In today’s crowded retail market, consumers expect more than ever before. They’re smarter, they have more choices, and they demand better experiences than they may have tolerated in the past. With so many options available at the touch of a button, consumers aren’t shy about searching for something new if their satisfaction isn’t met.
This isn’t necessarily bad news for retailers, but it does require some work and a renewed focus on customer service. Reputation alone isn’t enough anymore, and low prices are great for getting customers in the door, but it won’t bring them back if the service and experience fail to meet expectations.
The Keystone of Customer Service
Imagine if there was one word that could help you handle any customer issue, complaint or compliment. There is, that word is…Empathy! Most customers just want to be heard. They don’t want a rubber stamp one-size-fits-all fix to their problem, they want someone to see it their way and work with them to find a solution.
Great customer service is more than pacifying an unhappy customer; it takes understanding and awareness of their thoughts and feelings. In order to empathize with customers, we need to understand their emotions.
Three Emotions of an Unhappy Customer
Sad – This is usually the case when it is too late – possibly a missed funeral time or another important event. In many cases, recognition needs to be accomplished more than funds refunded. Even if it is out of town, by taking responsibility, you ensure the customer won’t be passed along to 3rd parties. Keep the customer experience with you, good or bad.
Mad – Did your delivery cause embarrassment of any kind? Was it late? Does a refund make it better? Focus on what happened and ask the customer what they feel is the best resolution. After all, it’s the customer’s confidence in your shop that you need to consider.
Disappointed – This is usually the case when the flowers may not have been fresh or did not last as long as expected. Nothing is worse than a customer feeling your flowers don’t last. You need to work with them to come up with a satisfactory solution. Doing so correctly will not only provide them with fresh, long-lasting flowers but will help reassure them you have a quality product that you stand behind.
In any case, these are all experiences that cannot be understood until the customer has explained it in full. Take the time to listen with the idea of making it right with a “YES WE CAN” attitude. If the customer takes the time to voice an opinion, we should take the time to listen.
In many cases, the customer wants to be acknowledged more than refunded, and the flowers are sometimes secondary. We can’t be late and we need to get the order right the first time – but sometimes things go wrong. When it doesn’t work out, just listen! A trained associate in your shop will be able to figure out what it is going to take to satisfy this issue if they approach the customer with patience and empathy. After all, do we really want to win the battle at the risk of losing the war?