Consumers are fickle. What is popular one day can all but disappear the next, and trends in food and beverage vary widely depending on factors like season, economy, and celebrity influencers. But there is one growing trend in sales that seems to be here to stay, and any organization that relies on a consistent revenue stream from sales needs to get on board.
Customer service is now an expected component in all industries that sell products or services to consumers. That covers just about everyone, right? That’s why it’s so important to be able to prepare and equip your sales organization to be able to tackle this trend, because really it’s much more than a trend, it’s the new way of life.
Bigger consumer expectations means more responsibility
Where did these heightened expectations come from? How did we get to a place where consumers want and need so much from us? The simple answer comes down to choice. Consumers have so many options available to them, that they don’t need to continue to shop with a company that doesn’t give them a great experience. We see in retail trends that consumers, especially Millennials and Gen Xers are looking for more personalized experiences, which is one reason why a lot of them are moving towards online shopping. This creates a bigger responsibility for brick-and-mortar shops, cafes, restaurants, and other sales-forward organizations to embrace change and begin thinking more about what the customer wants, and how to meet those expectations.
How to meet - and exceed - those bigger expectations
So how can you do this? How do you keep customers happy and coming back? As Hubspot CEO Brian Halligan once said “In a world where supply outstrips demand, always be helping.”
When it comes to customer service, the biggest and best tool you have is your sales team. Your customers need to feel like they can get help in their shopping or dining experience from professional, knowledgeable, and friendly employees, who genuinely care about them. Even if something goes wrong, or in the case of retail, a customer doesn’t find what they are looking for, a great experience with a sales associate can make all the difference in their decision to return.
Remember that sales staff are the face of your brand and company, and they are often on the front line of interactions that customers have with your store. In today’s economy, customers don’t have time to waste on bad interactions with staff - they will be happy to take their business elsewhere - so make sure that you are preparing and training your staff properly to handle any issues or customer service questions that come their way.
Help your staff get motivated and rise to the challenge
While all of this sounds well and good, there is one problem that needs to be addressed: staff motivation. While you can preach customer service to your employees, sometimes they need help to see the bigger picture and understand why every guest that walks into your location should matter to them. Help set goals for your staff, and engage them in conversations about improving processes for sales and how to encourage customers to purchase in ways that are helpful, not pushy. When you can involve your staff in their own development and help them to see how their individual goal accomplishments contribute to the entire organization, they might better understand the importance of customer service as a whole.
Customer service is a trend that we don’t see going away anytime soon. If you can adapt the way you sell, and help your sales organization realize their full potential to help and assist consumers, you’ll find your entire business benefitting immensely.
Need a tool to help your staff set and reach personal goals? Learn more about our flagship program, Goalplan.