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Refocusing on Customer Appreciation

Refocusing on Customer Appreciation

Refocusing on Customer Appreciation

The most important training activity right now in successful retail teams is customer appreciation. Most retail industries are showing a dip service scores by customers who are growing impatient with the slow ramp up to exceptional customer experience following the pandemic year.
We want to encourage retail managers to embrace this opportunity to create renewed energy and enthusiasm around refocusing on customer needs and how to make them feel appreciated.

First, you are no doubt in a hiring phase. Over 80-90% of companies say they are reshaping their staff due to lost workers and the rapid increase in consumer demand. Finding good candidates to join your team is vital to your continued success.
Dialogue-focused interviews will help explore the candidate’s ability to communicate. Consider questions that seek candidates’ values, traits, and motives. By asking them to communicate what they value and what motivates them, you can observe their interpersonal skills. Examples:

  • When asking about knowledge & skills, prompt them to tell you about someone they learned the most from? Ask them to tell you about a training activity they valued during a former employment.
  • It is equally valuable to ask about their experience with performance measurables, namely actions and results. Ask a candidate to tell you about a challenging or unique performance goal they were given, and what they did to meet the challenge and deliver.

Second, the best coaches commit to reinforcing the foundation of communication as a balance of listening and speaking. When we attentively listen, we commit to two things: i) ensuring to hear and understand what the other person is saying, and ii) responding accurately and appropriately (also known as clarifying).
While role plays offer one team training activity, asking employees to personally observe and take notes on service conversations in their everyday lives is another. Regroup the team to share and discuss their observations. What did he or she learn from the interaction they observed?

Listening skills often play a far bigger role than speaking to sell. Employees who talk too much, especially about themselves, can actually sabotage the success of a sales and service conversation.    

Staff training and development should always feature consistent reinforcement that teaches how to keep the focus on customers.

Center for Practical Management helps companies achieve organizational goals and behavior change initiatives through tailored consulting services, leadership coaching, employee skills training and marketing services. Learn more at www.cf-pm.com

Best Approach to Resolving Customer Concerns

Best Approach to Resolving Customer Concerns

Best Approach to Resolving Customer Concerns

The number one reason customers raise a buying question or concern is they do not have enough information to make their decision. Skilled sales teams are trained to ask questions to explore how products and services will fit into a customer’s life.

When teams approach the sales process as ‘finding the perfect fit’, customer concerns become a great starting point for customer service. A simple, four-step process can be practiced in any retail environment: acknowledge, clarify, address, and confirm satisfaction.

Acknowledge
When you acknowledge the concern or issue, you validate your customer’s position. For example, ‘Taking on additional debt can really impact your credit and finances, so I respect your caution.’ Acknowledgement also encourages customers to comfortably offer more details about their need.

Clarify
Next, ask clarifying questions to fully identify the customer’s concern. The Rule of Three can be used to help sales teams remember to ask three follow-up questions to understand any objections raised; i.e., When you say ‘expensive’, what do you mean? Is another purchase experience impacting this one? What is driving your timing?

Address Issue
Once you understand why the customer has a concern, you will know the best course of action. One approach may work, or you may need to engage multiple techniques to help address the issue.

  • Provide a comprehensive overview for the solution.
  • Share additional benefits that specifically apply to the customer.
  • Recommend an alternative solution for the customer.

Confirm Satisfaction
Remember to listen proactively when resolving customer concerns and, before moving on, always confirm with the customer that they are satisfied. Watch for signals from the customer indicating they are satisfied and ready to move on with the commitments you are requesting.

Managers and front-line supervisors should review the four steps for resolving customer concerns as frequently as possible during team meetings and 1-1 conversations. To learn more about best practices and training techniques at the Center for Practical Management, visit our website at www.cf-pm.com.

Center for Practical Management helps companies achieve organizational goals and behavior change initiatives through tailored consulting services, leadership coaching, employee skills training and marketing services. Learn more at www.cf-pm.com

Power Your Team to Success

Power Your Team to Success

Power Your Team to Success

Success in your retail business comes down to how well you have empowered your team. First, you make sure you have fueled them with the most powerful expertise for representing your products and services. Next, you need to sharpen their skills for high-performance communication that drive recommendations.

Regardless of what business sector you serve, sales and service teams often hit a wall when they are faced with questions or concerns from customers. To put customer’s minds at ease, build rapport and validate the business’ product or solution, we recommend managers introduce teams to this simple, four-step process for resolving concerns:

Step 1 Acknowledge. Acknowledging the customer’s questions or concern is a way of validating their concern and letting them know that it is an important question or concern. You do not want to discount that people might simply need more information or additional clarification before committing to a product or solution.
Step 2 Clarify. By clarifying the question or concern, you will be 100% certain that you understand it. Be sure to paraphrase the customer’s question back to them to make sure you fully understand what their asking.
Step 3 Address the Issue. Once you know why the customer is hesitating, you will know the best way to address members’ concerns. If we do not ask what concerns a customer has before purchasing or committing to something we’re offering, we don’t know how to help them overcome those. You want to make sure that the customer is comfortable with the solution and ready to move forward.
Step 4 Check for Satisfaction. The final step is to confirm that the customer is satisfied and ready to take the next step. Try using questions like, “Have I answered all of your questions?” or “What additional concerns do you have?” These are good ways to make sure you’ve addressed any and all concerns before moving onto the next steps and securing their agreement.

By asking clarifying questions and addressing concerns up front you will establish trust and confidence in your customers. You will be on your way to consistently achieving more sales and new customers.

For a sample training worksheet on Asking Clarifying Questions from our Relationship Management Workshop, email krisr@cf-pm.com.

The Confidence to Communicate Well

The Confidence to Communicate Well

The Confidence to Communicate Well

If the road to success in every human interaction is good communication, the potential for breakdown is poor communication. A 2019 survey by Project.co has reported that 8 of 10 people will rate their communication skills as average or poor. What if crossing the bridge from poor communication to good communication could be made easier?

Communication skills can be taught. More importantly, developing these skills can profoundly impact both work and personal life. The key is asking high-gain questions. A high-gain question is one that makes the other person think, and share. Quite simply, it is not answerable with yes or no. It is the difference between ‘did you have a nice weekend?’ and ‘how did you spend your weekend?’?

In the workplace, managers have a responsibility to build employees’ skills and confidence around communication. One interactive development activity, after introducing the concept of high-gain questions, is to ask employees to listen and make note of yes-no questions in all relationship interactions for a week. Discuss observations from this activity at the next team meeting, especially focusing on service-related interactions.?

Another Team Development Activity: Present these yes-no questions for repositioning as high-gain questions.
1. Is there anything else I can do for you?
2. Do you know about our current offer?
3. Were you satisfied with my service today??

Communication skill development helps ensure that employees will engage in positive and productive conversations that build relationships. Relationships help drive more product sales, plus referrals.?

To receive a free training worksheet for High-Gain Questions from our Relationship Management Workshop, email krisr@cf-pm.com or visit the contact us page on www.cf-pm.com

Center for Practical Management helps companies achieve organizational goals and behavioral change initiatives through tailored consulting services, leadership coaching, employee skills training and marketing services. Learn more at www.cf-pm.com.

Engaging Partners to Achieve New Heights

Engaging Partners to Achieve New Heights

Engaging Partners to Achieve New Heights

Within any organization, one product tends to be the entry point for the customer relationship. What sets a great manager apart from an average manager is coaching front-line teams how to ensure that this first interaction is not the sole experience the customer has with the organization.

Partnerships within the organization can lead to creating deeper relationships that add financial value and create cultural synergy throughout the organization.
You can improve customer experience impacts with these best practices for “engaging partners.”

  • Set realistic goals for the type and quality of interactions originated by staff and their business partners. The initial focus of these goals should be on activities instead of outcomes to establish the right behaviors.
  • Hold staff accountable by including partnership conversations in regular performance reviews and coaching interactions.
  • Regularly invite business-line partners to join team meetings so that they become part of the sales culture.
  • As staff becomes more comfortable with partnerships, managers can look for opportunities to coach them on increasing the quality and effectiveness of customer interactions that have the potential for partnerships.

Finally, every organization needs to provide training for staff to understand 3 essential things about the business:

  1. What products and services are available to customers?
  2. What does the ideal customer for each business line look like?
  3. How can customers benefit from working with the business line?

To actively promote a culture of partnership, managers must know the answers to the three questions above and encourage staff to individually reach out to each business line—as partners. This proactive outreach can help staff members increase their own knowledge and begin to build relationships that provide tremendous value to customers.

Business lines outside of the entry point for customer relationships are more likely to gain customer referrals when they can build solid partnerships with staff. Referrals work both ways. Strong partnerships within the organization can bring a broader offering of capabilities to each customer and increased revenue possibilities for the company.

For a sample training worksheet on Engaging Partners, excerpted from our Service Excellence Workshop, email krisr@cf-pm.com or visit the contact us page on www.cf-pm.com

Center for Practical Management helps companies achieve organizational goals and behavioral change initiatives through tailored consulting services, leadership coaching, employee skills training and marketing services. Learn more at www.cf-pm.com

Talent Management Toolkit Released

Talent Management Toolkit Released

Talent Management Toolkit Released

 

The new year holds high hopes for your organization’s financial performance, and the role of managers and supervisors has never been more important to achieving this goal. One of the best ways that managers can do this is to keep team meetings on your calendar, regardless of everything else happening in your organization’s orbit.

Returning to your routine Team Touchbases (aka Team Meeting) is impactful to the productivity and efficiency of your team(s). Not only does it provide a designated time and space for thoughtful conversation and organization updates, it also can be a useful learning tool to develop employee’s skills.

Try these coaching and development tips to fully engage your employees and inspire consistent collaboration on your team:

Calendar Blocking. Consistency and punctuality will increase morale and respect on your team.

Preparation. Create an agenda for distribution, if possible. This keeps the meeting on task and employees can prepare in advance for discussion points they would like to comment on.

Committed Focus. Devote your full attention to your staff during these meetings. Put your devices away. Staff view distracted multi-tasking as disrespectful.

Positivity. Try starting a meeting with everyone sharing a positive moment of the week. Or, highlight successes of individuals or the organization to start the meeting on a high note. Always express appreciation at the close to thank everyone for time and participation.

Problem Solve. Team meetings are a great way to problem solve and brainstorm solutions. Actively facilitate discussions that engage all employees equally by asking questions and listening to contributed insights.

Practice Activity. The best way to reinforce a behavior, process, activity, or new product is with interaction. You can assign activity leaders to help engage all team members. Be sure to summarize key takeaways.

Managers and supervisors need specific skills and consistent reinforcement to excel in their role as team leader.