Saturday, March 26, 2011

Welcome Me to Your Store with Enthusiasm

An article in this last week’s Cincinnati Enquirer reports on the “Red’s Way,” an initiative by the Cincinnati Reds baseball franchise to equip employees who have responsibilities for fan contact to quickly establish welcoming connections. The objective is to maximize loyalty to the team and increase ticket sales.
     As part of the initiative, more than 2,200 Red’s employees are being trained to answer customer questions well. Another part of the initiative includes recognizing employees for doing it well with rewards that range from $5 gift cards to flat screen TVs.
     It’s to the credit of this sports retailer that they’ve recognized the importance of answering customers’ questions. It’s also to their credit that those in charge of implementing “Red’s Way” are cautious about how quickly the changes will produce profitable results. They’re clear that they’ll focus not only on the words to say when answering fans’ questions, but also the enthusiasm with which the answers are given.
     What are the lessons of all this for you and your store? Well, after you’ve heard the same customer question a dozen times, do you look the next customer who asks you that question straight in the eyes and say, “Good gosh. Don’t you know anything”? Maybe not, but I’ll bet your staff who are asked the same question repeatedly can forget how important it is to enthusiastically welcome customers’ questions. After all, questions signal the customer’s interest in making a purchase from you.
     Whenever you answer a customer’s question with enthusiasm, expect the customer to become enthusiastic. If that doesn’t happen, analyze why. Perhaps you misunderstood the question. Maybe you’ve not noticed whether the customer wants your answer to consist of product specifications or general reassurance. According to researchers at Stanford University, University of Utah, and University of Iowa, customers usually want specifications pre-purchase, but after making the purchase, they’re usually seeking reassurance.
     Essential to enthusiasm is a smile. Unfortunately, some people otherwise qualified to do retail sales have great difficulty putting a smile on their face or in their tone. They don’t belong on the sales floor, at least until their clinical depression eases. For others, the depression is temporary and will disappear if you have the employee start working in a different department, where they’ll be energized by getting a whole new set of questions.
     Just as with the players on the field, the magic is in the delivery.

Click below for more:
Answer Customer Questions with Enthusiasm
Learn the Relationship B2B Customers Want
Help Product Novices & Experts Learn
Consider Your Store a Sports Stadium

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