With more and more shoppers watching their wallets your focus should be taking extremely good care of the customers who visit your store. Consistently delivering great service requires the right attitude, and that same right attitude goes for how you handle returns. The customer who returns a $100.00 gift deserves the same care as person who originally made the purchase, but how you handle that return or exchange often determines whether that customer will return to shop with you again.
If you own the store, then your return policy is a silent purveyor of your personal view of customer service. We’ve found unbelievably nasty policies in stores where we thought the customer was numero uno. Be your own customer for a moment and take a hard look at your policies. How do they communicate your message? The written word can be tricky. You may think you are saying one thing, but the customer sees something else. Do your policies “speak” in a friendly voice? Are they written in a polite and respectful way? Do they make customers’ feel like you are on their side?
A return policy that reads: “NO returns. NO exchanges. NO exceptions.” just won’t cut it – it just makes you look unprofessional. A policy that states, “We will gladly refund or exchange your purchase within 30 days. Your receipt guarantees it.” is a much better choice.
Hold mini store meetings this week to remind everyone of the following:
1. Follow the Golden Rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Acknowledge every customer with respect and dignity. Remember the 7 Tile Rule!
2. Be empathetic. Take a walk in your customers’ shoes and try to see yourself and your store through their eyes; it will make a big difference in how you react to whatever a customer asks of you.
3. Be responsive. Show a willingness to help customers promptly and to their complete satisfaction.
4. Keep your promises. If you make a promise to a customer, make sure that you follow through. How well you keep your word is a direct reflection of who you are.
5. Never tell a customer “We can’t do that” unless you follow with “Here’s what we can do …”
A retail study that found 15 percent of customers will leave your store and never return because of price; 15 percent of customers will leave your store and never return because of product, but 70 percent of customers will leave your store and never return because of the quality of the interaction with the people who work there. The quality of service in your store is truly in your hands!
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