It is good when someone greets you promptly and smiles as you walk through the door. I suppose Capel Carpets in Watford is a company that I really like. I have used their store a few times for carpet and Karndean. When I go into the store, the owner always says, “Hello Jane,” in a warm and friendly voice. He tells me that I am their best customer and so that makes me feel good. It is nice to be remembered. I can see that he is conscientious and that draws me to his company. He is very knowledgeable and you can tell that he knows his stuff. I bought some Karndean there recently for my new kitchen floor.
What is the worst experience you have had as a customer?
I had a bad experience in Morrisons. However I think that was more to do with the other customers.
Well you mentioned that the queues were long at that time. Long queues can have a knock on effect to cause irate customers so that may have been what happened during your visit.
Also If the staff don’t give eye contact then it seems as though they can’t be bothered. I was recently on holiday in York. I asked a staff member for some curtain tie backs. I could see that she didn’t want to engage and would rather be reading whatever she was reading. She had her head down. When I asked her a question, she looked witheringly at me over her glasses as though I was a nuisance. She told me that they only had what was on display. She did not apologise or offer any alternatives.
What do you think makes good customer service?
A feeling that the staff believe in the company and what they are selling. Staff who care about getting you the most appropriate product or service you have come in for. So, for example, if something isn’t available, they make an effort to find a suitable alternative for you. This shows that making the customer happy is their priority, rather than making a profit for themselves.
Yes we know that each customer wants to feel as though they have received a personalised solution to their unique needs.
Yes and it is also good if the staff make an effort to create a personal connection. For example if they introduce themselves and ask for your name.
When you are on a mystery visit, what are the three most important things that you are looking out for? Let’s use an example of eating a meal in a restaurant.
- Efficiency of service: If a customer is kept waiting they can start to question their purchase decision. This may prevent them from wanting to return in future.
- Friendliness of staff: Staff can show their interest in customers by making sure they check back during the meal. They can also ask some personal questions, for example about the weather or the person’s day. They could also recommend something from the menu to show enthusiasm and to show that they care.
- Atmosphere: It is important that the temperature is comfortable and that the music and lighting are at suitable levels.
Are there any brands that you have altered your opinion on recently, either positively or negatively?
I tend to favour Waitrose over Tesco these days. I like Waitrose as they don’t keep me waiting. I think it is worth paying more for a good experience.
What can a store do to create customer loyalty?
A loyalty card is a good way to encourage me to return to a store. Alternatively they could offer something like a discount or treat to redeem on my next visit.
Yes, so it is important that the staff remember to offer these to customers.
The staff can also suggest a reason for the customer to return. Going back to the restaurant scenario, a customer may have difficulty in choosing between two desserts. The server could jokingly say that they could order one today and then try the other one on their next visit.
At certain beauty counters I have been invited back to let them know how I have got on with a product or for a makeup lesson. A simply phrase, such as, “We would love to see you,” can really encourage a customer to return.