One thing I learnt about being a small business retailer, very early in my retail journey, was that if I was going to grow and succeed, then I needed to be front of mind to my customers at all times.
Two areas I focused on to achieve this was creating a customer experience that showed my expertise and had a strong customer focus.
LEVERAGE YOUR EXPERTISE
It is so important to become the “go to” expert in your field – in my case in my retail days, it was expertise in everything to do with cooking and baking.
But being an expert was simply not enough – my staff, my business partner and myself all had to BELIEVE we were the experts. We never faked it until we made it (so to speak – because customers see straight through that hog wash) but if the first sale is made to you and you don’t believe you are the expert then its guaranteed others won’t either.
Ask yourself these following questions:
- What are you expert in for your retail space?
- What do customers come to you for to solve their problems?
- Do you know your products and how they will benefit your customers?
- Do you understand what your customer’s problems are – what you are solving for them through the sales process?
You need to position and promote yourself as an expert – package it, pitch it and live it!
Now, I totally get that positioning yourself as the expert can seem a bit daunting – especially when as a society we tend to default to underplaying what we are good at.
But, you can do it, you have what it takes to be an EXPERT!
I’ve put together a list of some of the key elements to showing you are the “go to” person or expert for your customers:-
- Knowledge (or perception of knowledge)
- A proven track record
- Measurable results customers can see and relate too
- A niche market, and
- Communication (marketing, marketing, marketing!)
One critical factor in all of this is that you need to create a DEEP and NARROW base of product knowledge. The more niche your retail market is, the easier it will be to create this type of knowledge base.
Share stories, listen to customer experiences, listen to friends/acquaintances in similar retail shops, ask product/company reps for information, write it down – share it with your team and then share how you are the expert at this in your marketing!
The ability to share insight and share information is essential for building a team of experts and the end result is you and your team delivering customer outcomes, solving customer problems and MORE SALES.
The more expertise – the more customers – the more growth in your wonderful retail business you will see.
Be the expert and win those sales!
Personally, I feel it is time to redefine CUSTOMER SERVICE.
I find it oddly strange that people in customer service so often think their role is to SIMPLY SERVE the customer in front of them.
To build a successful business in the current retail environment, which we all know is ridiculously tough with the proliferation of online stores competing with shopfronts, we not only need to know who our client is but WHY they came to us and us specifically.
Take this example:-
A customer comes into your store and wants to buy a dinner set.
Great! You have about 12 to choose from so the sale is in the bag – right? You think it can’t fail – you have exactly what they asked for.
Well – I hate to drop a truth bomb here but you’re wrong. Really wrong. They don’t just want A dinner set – they want the one that they NEED to solve whatever problem they have.
Rather than being a customer service officer who just served this customer – be a problem solver! The customer must want a dinner set for SOME reason & now it’s your job to find out why.
WHY? Because the dinner set is not the problem – it’s the solution. And, to get the sale you have to find the problem that brought them into your shop in the first place!
HOW? Ask questions, of course!
- How many people did you need to dinner set to serve?
- Did you want an everyday set or a special occasion set?
- Colour? Brand?
- Porcelain? Fine bone china? Stoneware?
- Gift or for yourself?
- Dishwasher safe or hand wash only?
- Size – does it fit in your dishwasher?
- Oven safe? Microwaveable?
The list is endless even just for a humble dinner set!
Asking questions not only solves the Customer’s problem and almost always guarantees the sale (KaChing) it also goes a long way to building a relationship which creates loyalty.
Keeping the focus on your CUSTOMER will help build this loyalty – and in the competitive world of retail LOYALTY = SUCCESS.
This will help you create people who are advocates and fans of your business – the ones who will tell their friends about your store or products!
So, review your business and how customer centric you are. Stop thinking of yourself and your employees as customer service officers and start seeing every customer as someone with a problem you need to solve. Be a leader in an industry screaming for leadership.
If you are looking for some extra support in your business, I would love for you to come and join in with my Like Minded Business Owners Facebook group! Let me know in the group what you think about this post, and how you are leveraging your expertise and looking to excel at customer service in you business.
I love helping retailers to refine their customer journey and experience, and providing a solid strategy to market your strengths. If you need some assistance in this area, then Book a discovery call here!
And as a reminder, please head over and join my Like Minded Business Owners Facebook group! The sharing of experiences and expertise with other small business owners makes it such a supportive community.
Or you can DM me on Instagram or send me an email email@example.com
I wish to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land, the Yorta Yorta People, on which I conduct my business today and pay my respects to their Elders past and present. I extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples reading this blog post today.
About the Author:
Jenn Donovan of Social Media & Marketing Australia. Jenn’s a coach and mentor from rural NSW and is all about empowering business owners to earn what they’re worth so they can make a bigger difference in the world. The Founder of Buy From a Bush Business, Co-Founder of Spend With Us – Buy From a Bush Business Marketplace and host of the very popular podcast Small Business Made Simple, Jenn is all about community and humans interacting with humans! H2H Marketing – human to human marketing. Jenn talks the talk but importantly walks the walk! Jenn’s online community is over 320,000 with her famous Facebook Group currently at almost 351,000 members and still growing every day. She’s the major of her own little online city!
Get in touch – www.socialmediaandmarketing.com.au
On Instagram – @jenndonovan_
On Facebook – Jenn Donovan
Or on LinkedIn as Jenn Donovan