There is a lot of discussion about the value of good service, and innumerable training programs to assist business owners and staff deliver a quality customer experience, and yet the experience, especially in the retail space, of the average Australian customer falls short. When compared to the experience of the average US shopper, Australian consumers are missing out.
So what is missing?
There are no doubt many explanations; however, a key reason is that service which really engages a customer, and brings them back time and again, goes beyond words and parrot-like niceties learned in a training seminar. Service which begins from the moment the customer sets foot in the store and which continues until the customer exits.
One of the most powerful tools a customer-facing employee can develop is the ability to relate to the customer. By learning to read a customer and adjust behaviour, language, and demeanour accordingly you create more than superficial connections.
As an example, I recently encountered a store greeter in an Australian big box retailer, who was saying the right things. Things such as “hello, how are you?”, and yet was totally ineffective and largely ignored by patrons entering the store. As I observed this, I compared it to recent US experiences where a completely different scene played out. So what was different?
The Australian greeter just wasn’t connecting with people – her eyes and eye patterns were incongruent with her words, her tone was flat and her body language suggested that she was doing what she was told, but really didn’t want to be there.
In most US environments, the store greeter was a natural “I” style – a style which generally likes to connect with people and is outgoing and inclusive and the experience continued throughout the visit to the store or restaurant. Each step in the sales process, staff introduced themselves, made me feel through their tone, body language and words that I was the most important person in the store.
There is a real opportunity for Australian retailers and restaurateurs to adopt a strategy of differentiation based on service and it doesn’t have to cost huge dollars to implement. It all starts at the recruitment phase – hire the right people with the right behavioural style for the job. By becoming more discerning in the recruitment phase, and backing this up with ongoing communications and some basic NLP training, Australian business owners can drive competitive advantage and dollars to the bottom line,
One simple and relatively inexpensive way of becoming more discerning in recruitment of your staff and to make sure your staff are a right fit with your customer and have the ability to engage your customer is through using profiling tools such as EDISC. The assessment takes only a few minutes to complete and yet provides a indepth analysis of just how your potential staff member will relate to your customers and if the potential recruit will add value to your business.