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Melrose International

How to Talk to Customers

Whether they just stepped into your store, have been exploring it for 20 minutes or are checking out, how you talk to your customers can make a huge difference for your business. 

How to talk to customers in retail storesHow to talk to customers in retail stores

If you’ve been in retail for more than a day you’ve probably realized that there is an art to talking to the customers who walk through your door. The right assistance and the right words, can increase sales and lead to repeat business.

But sometimes retailers can get so caught up in getting the store set, working with vendors, paying the rent and everything else that goes into a store that they lose sight of the subtle art of chatting up a customer to find out what they need and help them find it. Below we’ve rounded up some great advice for brushing up on your small talk—read it, have your employees read it –and then go get out there and help your customers!

When your customer arrives:

~Share a warm greeting with your customers when they enter. Then let them browse a bit.

~Consider asking the customer if they have been in your store before. If not, have a 30 second elevator speech prepared that highlights why your store is unique and different and what makes your product exceptional.

~When you head over to help a customer for the first time, avoid asking “Have you been helped” (pay attention so you’ll know if they’ve been helped!)

When your customer is exploring the store:

~Instead of questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no”, keeps the conversation going with open ended questions.  And, if you find a customer is having trouble making a decision, help them out by giving them a choice like, “Do you prefer something lighter or darker?” “Something bigger or smaller?”

~If, during your conversation, the customer asks for something you don’t have, always offer an alternate suggestion. “No, but we have…” is the secret here!

~Make suggestions. Instead of asking if there is “anything else?” suggest one item that logically goes with what they are purchasing. So if they are getting a vase ask if they have thought about floral to fill it, if they have found the perfect candle for themselves, suggest the matching travel candle as a hostess gift for a friend.

When your customer is checking out:

~Let your customer make their own way to the cash register. To that end, never suggest ringing someone up. Instead ask if you can hold their items at checkout while they continue to browse.

~As you finalize the customer’s sale, chat them up! Tell them you get new items in often; ask them to visit your website, blog or Facebook and share details on an upcoming event or sale. When a customer leaves with exciting reasons to visit your shop again, they will!

As you converse with your customers these tips will become a natural part of your customer service language. If you’re newer to customer service and this list seems overwhelming, concentrate on one area at a time: greeting at arrival, helping your customer explore the store or ringing them up. Once you are comfortable with each area add on the next.

Do you have any tricks for talking to customers and creating rapport? We’d love to hear them in the comments section below! 

Melrose International is an industry leader in wholesale home décor, giftware, and seasonal items. Providing outstanding products, service, design, and value since 1985!

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