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Bob Phibbs Shares Nine Non-Negotiable Elements for Successfully Serving Customers




WHEN A SHOPPER steps through your doors, you and your salespeople become the face of your brand. Make sure you understand how these nine things are non-negotiable to your store’s customer experience success.

1. It better be clean. In the old days, everyone cleaned the store. Now, many have outside cleaning services or a dedicated employee. But it is still everyone’s responsibility that a store is clean for the customer. Fingerprints — or noseprints — all over the glass doors are one of the first signs of an unclean store. And don’t let a customer walk into a bathroom that’s not spotless.

2. The merchandise better be priced. Having to find someone just to ask, “How much is this?” is a friction point, and that wears down the likelihood of a sale. Whether your tags are missing or your sale sign is misleading or vague, make the price obvious.

3. There better be enough staff. I had a client several years ago who took pride that their stores were so busy. He actually said, “People will wait.” In 2017, no one wanting to buy something will wait. If they can’t be helped, they’ll turn to their smartphone which will get them assistance and probably the sale. You staff for the rush, not the full day; add extra staff when you know you will be busy.

4. There better be clear-cut choices. Without a good, better, best buying philosophy, merchandise can vary in minor details, which causes the customer to have to think and weigh choices between seemingly the same item. Curate your choices to make comparisons more obvious.

5. There better be quick checkout. Wait-time at the cash wrap is the death knell for retailers. The longer it takes, the more the customer wonders if they really need the item they’re holding. Cashiers must learn to hustle when busy and should be tested on accuracy and speed before assuming the post. 

6. THERE BETTER BE FREE WI-FI. Because of concrete walls, many retail locations have poor cell service. While some would argue this is great, it really isn’t as customers could be wanting to send pics of your items to friends for their opinion before buying. Add a sign at the front showing you offer free wi-fi.

7. There better be clear signage. Drug stores are noticing customer frustrations and adding various signs that can easily be seen at the end of an aisle. Some are using the new Buy Online Pick Up In Store universal sign so customers don’t have to ask. While we want customers to browse, often that comes after they solve the mission that brought them to the store to buy in the first place. Obvious directional signs and aisle markers are crucial.

8. There better be something unexpected — in a good way. Whether it is a standard dog ball that now comes in small, medium and large, a display that shows a new way of using a product, or a video that shows how a new item can make accident cleanup easier, customers want to be intrigued. Make sure you have something that gives them that taste of the unexpected.

9. You better stay in touch. If something has to be ordered, or information checked on, or another person checked with, make sure you tell your customer exactly when you will get back to them. Once a customer puts down a deposit, they are going to be anxious to pick it up. Call them before they have a chance to call you and stay connected throughout the process to ensure a raving fan on social media.



NASC Media Spotlight

At first it was just an idea: Animal supplements needed the same quality control that human-grade supplements receive. But that was enough to start a movement and an organization —the National Animal Supplement Council — that would be dedicated to establishing a comprehensive path forward for the animal supplements industry. In this Media Spotlight interview, NASC’s president, Bill Bookout, talks to PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita about the industry today: Where it’s headed, what’s the latest focus and why it’s vital to gain the involvement of independent pet product retailers.

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