One of the best things a small retailer can do in order to compete with larger chain operations is to stand out from the crowd, which is often best accomplished by ensuring that your customers have a favorable customer experience in your store.
Human brains don’t remember experiences in chronological order and play them back like a video of the event. We tend to remember highlights about an experience and then connect those highlights together to create what we call a “memory”. Researchers have found that one of the highlights of an experience that is remembered most is the end of that experience.
As retailers, it is your job to make sure that the end of any customer experience in your store is one that customers will remember favorably. As we will discuss here, with a little planning and thought, this can be done with minimal work or cost on your part.
Stay Organized – The final few moments of your customer’s experience in your store should be smooth and quick. Ask yourself these questions: Am I using an up-to-date POS system that processes transactions quickly and is my staff well-trained to use the system? Is everything my employees need (bags, coupons & bag stuffers, etc.) easily accessible at each check-out station? Do I have enough staff on hand so customers don’t have to wait in line for more than a minute or so?
Be Friendly – Always be prepared to talk with customers while you are going through the check-out process. Ask them how their day is going or comment on the beautiful (or horrible) weather, but don’t keep selling the product while you check them out. They may wonder what’s wrong with the product if you keep selling them while they are actually purchasing it.
Stay Close, But Not Too Close – Don’t follow them out the door or hover, but also don’t begin cleaning the counter or talking to another customer until your current customer has moved away. Always send them off with a friendly thank you.
Send Them Off with a Gift – Everyone likes getting something for free. Send your customers off with a small, low-cost token such as a refrigerator magnet, a paint can opener or even a coupon for their next visit. Don’t just stuff it in a bag, hand it to them. Most people will respond with a “thank-you”, to which your reply should be “Your welcome, thanks for stopping in, see you soon!” or “My pleasure, glad to be of service!.” Saying “No problem” is NOT a good way to respond to customers.
Making sure that the last thing your customers remember about your store is a quick, efficient and friendly check-out process is not really a hard thing to do, it just takes a little thought and pre-planning. Send them off with a smile and you will more than likely see them again, sooner than later!