Store Associates’ Secret Weapon For Winning Customer Loyalty
By Alicia Fiorletta, Associate Editor, Retail TouchPoints
We’ve all had our poor retail experiences, during which we’ve interacted with nasty or just plain unhelpful store associates. Regardless of how much time has passed, we still remember those negative experiences. It’s those positive and memorable experiences, though, which help wipe away bad memories and increase customer trust and loyalty to a retailer.
It’s important to note that best-in-class retailers never need to win back consumer trust. Rather, they build employee-training policies from the ground-up to deliver the brand promise to shoppers during every interaction. However, research has indicated that these processes are rarely implemented.
Recently I went to the opening of a store in Montclair, NJ, called South Moon Under. I had never heard of the brand, other than a bit of lazy Google searching. But following my in-store experience, it’s safe to say I will forever sing this retailer’s praises!
Upon entering the store, I was greeted by two store associates enthusiastically organizing clothing and jewelry. Blame it on my borderline shopping addiction, but I felt a surge of adrenaline as I browsed through an assortment of light cotton dresses, pastel-colored high-low skirts, and fun, tribal-themed crop tops. Moreover, the associates/fashion consultants on the store floor fueled my passion, acting like long-lost girlfriends as they discussed the newest releases and their favorite items in the store.
My adrenaline thrill was carried all the way to the fitting room, where the associate helping me asked my name. She then wrote my name on the mirror hanging on the door of my fitting room, so associates could ask my progress and check to make sure I didn’t need any help or size changes.
As I worked my way through the 10-plus items I initially hauled into the dressing room, several associates/consultants called my name, asking how items fit and encouraging me to come out and model ensembles.
One conversation that sticks out went as follows:
Associate: How’s the dress look?
Me: I love the dress so much, but I took off the belt that came with it. I feel like it doesn’t match well.
Associate: (Looks at belt) You’re absolutely right. Here, try this one. Yes, much better.
The associate tied a camel-colored leather wrap belt around my waist, and I immediately felt like it was made for the lacey, white dress. She walked me through the tying process slowly to ensure I remembered every detail to get the knot just right.
Not only did I have the strong urge to buy the dress, but the belt also became a vital necessity. A powerful up-sell was initiated within a matter of a few short minutes.
Although I didn’t buy the dress or belt (I settled on a fabulous, mod-themed black and white cocktail dress instead), I have two items on my must-have list for the next time I make my way to the South Moon Under store.
What if those items aren’t available when I revisit the store? The associates said they could order the item for me directly through the retailer’s distribution network, and have it shipped to my home address, free of charge. Talk about winning, and keeping, customer loyalty!