Hardware Retailing

OCT 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | October 2018 58 I ndependent retailers regularly state customer care and service as a strength and distinguishing characteristic for their industry. While customer service is a keystone for an independent retailer to beat big-box stores in the minds of their customers and sustain a healthy business, retailers must walk the walk as well. Training can instill the tenets of customer service into employees, but habits from everyday life and an unawareness of how customers react to certain behaviors can still creep into employee interactions with customers. To get ahead of these potentially reputation-damaging situations, Hardware Retailing developed this list of 10 things employees should never say to a customer. Also, visit nrha.org/free-training to check out sales associate training tips from the North American Retail Hardware Association's Trainer's Toolbox series. Things to Never Say to a Customer "You ..." Separating the customer from your business makes the issue their problem. Don't use phrases like, "You needed to come in before noon to receive that offer." Instead, say, "I'm sorry, we had that offer available earlier today. Is there something else we can help you with?" "Please hold." People understand there are things happening around whomever answered the phone, but shutting a caller down immediately with a "please hold" will sour a customer's day. Instead, greet the caller as you've been trained, engage with the topic of their call and ask for their patience. "This has never been an issue before." Whether it is a customer bringing in a return for an item that didn't work or someone bringing a complaint about store services to you, this kind of phrase immediately puts the customer on the defensive. Acknowledge the issue at hand and explain what efforts can be made to either resolve the complaint or find an alternative solution. "If I had to guess …" We get it. You've been trained in session after session about being attentive to customers' needs and looking to help them solve their problems. However, well-meaning assumptions or guesswork will leave customers feeling lost and unclear on if they have received the kind of advice or direction they expect from an expert in hardware. It's OK to say you don't know how to help the customer and lead them to someone who can.

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