Provide good customer service in retail with social media monitoring

The first step to providing good customer service in retail begins with listening to your customers.

Your customers won’t always approach you directly, so you may need to do some digging to uncover customer feedback or use a social media monitoring tool to do the digging for you. Keep in mind that your company won’t always be tagged when your customers mention you.

This is where social listening tools can give you a hand. Set up media monitoring projects to track mentions of your brand, product, industry, etc… and receive instant notifications whenever your customers mention you on-line, whether you’ve been tagged or not.

A powerful yet easy-to-use media monitoring tools that make tracking down customer feedback super simple are as follows:

Step 1: Set up your social listening projects

Start by selecting the keywords you want to track.

Step 2: Keep an eye on your social listening projects

Once you’ve set up your social listening projects, keep an eye on the data you collect. Personalise notifications to let you know when there is a sudden increase in results for your company or for particular types of results (such as negative or positive results, or for specific #hashtags, etc).

Interact with your customers and keep them in the loop

Providing good customer service isn’t rocket science – it comes down to a good support tool and remembering to keep the customer in the loop at all times.  Before you know it, you’re the customer’s service hero.

There are a number of reasons to shop with online retailers: to save time, avoid crowds, do comparison shopping… whatever the reason, nearly all consumers have purchased items on-line at one time or another.
The user (Jane) below had a great customer service experience with the on-line click & collect service from food retailer.


I recently filled out a customer service web form at an online food store, asking some questions about a new delicacy (cookies). Since it was an online form, I instantly got a tracking number and an email receipt (good).

However, after I had posted the inquiry, it took 5 days for them to get back to me. After 2 or 3 days without any response, I started getting furious, thinking I should take my order elsewhere.When I finally got a response, I received a long email explaining that they were sorry for the delay, and the reason was that, part of the cookies I ordered was no longer for sale, and also out of stock……. They had to make a special order of a replica from abroad to complete my order. Imagine that; they had gone out of their way to satisfy my order (it would have been cheaper for them to just cancel and refund me), but since they didn’t keep me in the loop, I was by now, a dissatisfied customer, until I got a message explaining the reason for the delay, which indeed impressed me. And guess what? They went an extra mile to deliver my cookies without a delivery fee’.

As she describes in her post, all she had to do was place her order on-line, select a time slot for pick-up, and then when she arrived, a customer service representative brought her order directly to her car. She was impressed, especially by the way the retailer handled the situation when they discovered that a few items she had ordered were out of stock. A friendly customer service representative gave her a call to let her know about the out-of-stock items, and suggested some possible alternatives.

 A key step in providing good customer service in retail starts with remembering that your customers are human and connecting with them… in a human way. This means that you listen to them. Only then can you truly understand what your customers want and begin to build relationships with them. 

When the time comes (and it will) and your company requires understanding and human compassion from your customers, just wait: their reactions and support will reflect the strength of your customer relationships and just how well you’ve been providing customer service all along.

Provide good customer service in retail, even when the customer is wrong

The phrase customer is always right is not new to you. 

This is a popular customer service mantra that most businesses live by. But what happens when the customer is wrong?

If you own or manage a store, then you’ve probably had to deal with instances of shoplifting, at least once. Many business owners make their stance on shoplifting clear by displaying signs like the ones below, right inside their stores:

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The message is clear: if you shoplift, prepare to deal with the legal consequences of your actions. Sounds fair, but… it’s not always so cut and dry. Even in the stickiest of situations, there may be a better way.

If you treat your customers like real people and just listen to them, and react in a compassionate way, you might find a better solution that benefits all parties (and even make a positive impact on someone’s life), like the clever store manager did in the post below:A parent found that her son had shoplifted a lollipop from the store on the island.

She promptly brought her child back to the store where she had the boy apologize to the store clerk. When the store manager was notified, instead of following the rule book and calling the police, he told the little boy that he could have the lollipop if he was willing to work for it.

They struck a deal: the boy had to pick up 10 items of trash in the parking lot and he would have earned the lollipop. He went outside and picked up the trash, even a little more than 10 pieces. Afterwards, the punishment actually made him feel better, because he was then able to tell others that he had earned the candy, instead of stealing it.

Be an example of good customer service in retail by paying attention to the details

Paying attention to details…..

As a good customer service manager, you should pay attention to details because it is the little things that matter.

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Just like in a restaurant, where the way you present your food can affect customer satisfaction, so can the way your staff present themselves to your customers. And this applies to any type of business that provides customer service, whether it is in offline retail, online retail, hospitality, or otherwise.

For example, the client below couldn’t stop raving about all the little service details that made him say ‘why would you want to go anywhere else?’ when posting about his stay at a particular hotel.

“1. They change the mat on the floor in the elevator to say “Good morning” or “Good evening” according to the time of day.

2. Their elevators are timed impeccably; you never wait long for one to come even if the hotel is busy.

3. All the staff wear a very nice smelling fragrance across the entire hotel.

4. Whether you call room service, reception, the garage etc, they always call you by your full name

5. They accommodate whatever request you have, big or small. Why would you want to go anywhere else?”
Even if you’re not in the hospitality industry, you can implement personal touches like this in any business.

  1. You might not have an elevator, but you can change the floor mats by your entrance to say “good morning” or “good evening”, or implement more personalised greetings in your e-mail marketing.
  2. You can try to open more check-out registers so your customers don’t have to wait in long lines to pay for their items (a bigger concern than elevators for most retailers).
  3. Some customers may be allergic to certain fragrances, but you could introduce policies that make your staff more presentable in general.
  4. If you know your customers’ names, try using them! It’s a proven fact that people like hearing their names.
  5. And flexibility is key. If you can help your customers without having it negatively affect your work, why not? Make change if you have enough small bills at the time. Allow your customers to use the restroom if they need it. Offer them a spoon if you see that they have purchased a ready-to-eat product (like ice cream or soup). None of this will take more than of couple minutes (or seconds), and your customers will appreciate your thoughtfulness, and even start to think ‘why go anywhere else?’

Why should I ask for feed back and suggestion?

Every manager needs the feed back and suggestion because it creates high performers consistently is a crucial activity for every customer service manager, it provides insights which can be used to improve your products, services or staff interaction and offers the best way to measure customer satisfaction. This way, you get credit for the results you generate.

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As we all know that every employee strives for professional growth and often this implies more than just money. The desire for challenging situations, bringing in substantial growth and going beyond personal capacities is what drives many employees to want to become high performers.

So as a manager, you can motivate fellow team members by holding them to higher standards, asking for more and lending them the support they need to get there. And as they start to meet these expectations with more efficiency and a renewed sense of purpose, ask them if they have the data, the tools, and support to carry out everything that’s expected out of them. And more importantly, ask them: “Do you get credit for the results you generate”?

Asking these questions frequently will help you generate a stream of ideas to continually improve your team’s and your customer’s experience. Act on the feedback and suggestions you receive to improve customer engagement and empower your employees to deliver exceptional service that will delight your customers. And finally, ask them if they are happy with what they get out of it.

Empower your team ahead of customer’s frustration

 Empowering team members: How can I help you?

Despite acknowledging the importance of good customer service, many businesses still subscribe to the opinion that service incurs business cost. However, what’s important here is to realize that good customer service is more like an investment that can help drive business growth. Hiring quality talent, and ensuring they have the right skills, training and tools enables them to empathize with customers and actively listen to them. This is the key to providing a consistently good service experiences.

Without proper tools and resources, your team may not feel empowered enough to effectively resolve customer queries or respond appropriately to their frustrations. As much as you want your teammates to empathize with your customers’ problems, you need to first look at serving your own team members and empathize with them.

Therefore, it’s a good practice to turn the tables on your teammates and ask them, whether in a group discussion or a while having a one-on-one conversation: “How can I help you?”

What’s also important, is to listen to their suggestions and then act on them. Have an in-depth discussion on every view of theirs, no matter how small you insignificant you feel they may be. If they want you to know about it, then it is a big deal to them. And if it’s a big deal to them, it ought to be a big deal to you!

Identify any training needs that your support members may have. There are well designed customer service training programs available out there that focus on improving communication, listening, problem solving and analytical skills. Training all your agents on a predetermined set of competencies equips them with the right mindset and a standard process to deal with customers and builds a sense of team spirit.

Remove all the potentially unhappy and disgruntled customers

What are your customers telling you?

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This question happens to be a very potent diagnostic tool. You cannot succeed in creating happy customers if you do not start by removing all the potentially unhappy and disgruntled customers first.

You need to have your team understand that it’s okay to let your customers vent their anguish and open up to them. They shouldn’t be looking to defend a poor customer service, or a poor product experience. Allowing your customers to vent will lead you to discovering new perspectives on their overall experience with the company, and why they be feeling so frustrated.

Once this mindset has been inculcated in the team, they will start paying a closer attention to the specific language customers use to describe their problems, or frustration. Recording, or capturing their words verbatim, will help you identify the root cause of the issue and will be a great help when the team looks for a solution.

Ideally, it’s your customer who should be talking 90% of the time. Your team, on the other hand, should be busy making a note of their complaints, frustrations and concerns. This will help you:

  • Identify the exact problems your customers face
  • Get to know the most common struggles from your customer’s perspective
  • Know the exact language your customers use
  • Understand your customers better

This information is crucial to providing better support and have much more engaged and delighted customers. In the words of Alan Weiss, the author of “Million Dollar Consulting”:

Ask your customers to be part of the solution, and don’t view them as part of the problem.

Feel free to drop your comments!

NOT hearing from your customers doesn’t mean that they’re satisfied

  • You want to know if your customers are satisfied? Then try to hear from them all the time. These are real life examples of good customer service in retail……
  • Promising that you will deliver good customer service isn’t enough. Consumers want a guarantee, or proof, that they will have a good experience.
  • People don’t just talk about their in-store experiences while they’re at the store. They rant or rave about it on the Internet, via social media, in forums, on review sites, in person, etc. Whether it’s 195 angry customers or 432 happy customers, make sure you’re listening – the right tools can help you get ahold of all your online customer feedback so you don’t have to spend time looking for the

Be an example of good customer service in retail by going the extra mile to make your customers feel special

Because rules were made to be broken.

How many times have you silently pledged your loyalty to a brand or company because they bent the rules for you (even if it was just over something tiny)?

That just recently happened to me with Amazon. I had signed up for Prime membership but then decided to cancel it because they stopped carrying the product that I normally order from them. I was one day past the monthly renewal period, but after contacting their customer service department, they promptly issued a refund for the subscription fee from that month and immediately cancelled my account. All in under 10 minutes and completely hassle-free.

I know I was one day late, yet they made it work. It feels like they made a special exception, just for me. And I definitely won’t hesitate to do business with them again.

Doing little ‘favors’ like that for your customers can significantly increase customer loyalty and trust for your brand.

Jottings from a CEO Note Book: How to Get (and Stay) in Touch with Your Customers

For a CEO to lose touch with what his customers want, need and feel is a surefire route to failure. So do you want to stay in touch with customers without seeming obvious or gratuitous? It’s easy. The key is to stay in touch in a meaningful and memorable way.

What is memorable? Having a purpose that benefits the other person–not you. Here are some ways to pull that off:

Set up an alert on each customer.

One of the tool that will help you keep track of customers (or competitors). Google Alerts.

Pick a tool and set up an alert on the person’s name, company name, her industry, maybe topics of personal interest … and then you can reconnect with something to offer: congratulations, information about new competitors, trends in the industry, etc.

The key is to turn a generic “Thinking of you” into a much more meaningful, “I immediately thought of you when I saw this.”

Offer to recommend.

Many people feel uncomfortable asking others to complete LinkedIn Recommendations. Instead of waiting for a customer to ask, jump in and write one. You will not only strengthen a connection but also get the chance to (subtly) describe your business and services when you discuss how you and your customer did business in the past.

Or go further. Be a matchmaker and recommend a customer’s services to another customer. If you pick the right people, both will be grateful for the introduction.

Never forget: People tend to like, and remember, the people who like them.

Ways to Boost Satisfaction for the Customer of the Future

To boost your customer’s satisfaction, you will have to always treat every customer as if they were a VIP. Customer service is the golden key to any successful business – if you don’t have it, act fast and make it a priority.  Give every customer the same excellent treatment as you would like to receive yourself. Keep measuring customer satisfaction. Know how you should survey your customers – the right way. 

  • Treat every customer as if they were a VIP. Give every customer the same excellent treatment as you would like to receive yourself.
  • Keep measuring customer satisfaction.
  • Know how you should survey your customers – the right way.
  • Keep an eye on what customers say about you on social media.

The truth is, it’s no secret that nobody likes to hear the negative comments about themselves or their business – but instead of getting hurt, take it as a great opportunity to turn your customer’s experience around. Nobody runs a perfect business with the perfect customers, receiving any kind of feedback helps you and your company to learn and grow as you go.

Addressing a complaint or bad experience shows customers that their voices are being heard and that each individual is a valued customer. Increasing engagement and value can increase customer loyalty, resulting in continued engagement and sales.