"Too often customer service is not a priority for retailers, which is a critical mistake", says John Tschohl, service expert and president of the Service Quality Institute (www.ServiceQualityInstitute.com).

Managers don't always understand that if a company pays attention to its customers' needs, its profits will grow. To increase purchases and profit, retailers have to achieve a level of service that attracts customers and keeps them. "The client is king" or "the client is always right" are not just pretty sayings. Your customers always know whether or not you put these words into practice and do your best to make your service a good one, Tschohl comments.

To make service a company's driving force, Tschohl recommends drawing up a Service Plan and beginning with the following steps:

  • Identify the elements of good customer service and eliminate all obstacles to good service. How can you simplify interaction with your customers? Are your opening hours convenient for customers? How well is your staff trained?
  • Keep track of your results. Use Mystery Shopping and customer surveys to assess how your actions influence the level of service. Assess your sales and market share and compare these results to those after six months.
  • Implement a system. Provide ongoing training to make your staff cheerful and service-minded. Draw their attention to service by rewarding the best employees and introducing service standards.
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