Everyone wants to feel smart, or at least think they are smart. No one wants to look ignorant especially in the presence of other people. No one definitely wants to ever get embarrassed. Believe it or not, every person has a desire to be self-sufficient and knowledgeable. However, not all prefer to practice self-sufficiency even if they can and they know how especially those who can afford to do things for them.
When customers step in a store, feeling or getting embarrassed is the last thing they’d want to happen. The hassles of shopping can be easily dealt with compared to dealing with embarrassment. Most store incidents of embarrassment happen when the customer is not treated appropriately and with respect by store employees. In some cases, such incidents are triggered when a customer is being informed and/or getting corrected by an employee or other customers.
Even before the incident happens, the customer would already feel embarrassed within themselves because they know beforehand that they either didn’t know what should have been done or didn’t know the information they needed to know. Customers do not appreciate feeling like they’re a 5 year old kid. Some employees don’t want to deal with ignorant customers and they tend to forget that properly educating customers is part of their job and it’s the right thing to do. Ensuring that your employees understand their role and duties to the customers and instilling the right mindset will solve this problem.
Customers who are ignorant about your brand, your products, store policies, etc. will likely result to an unhappy and embarrassed customers. Such customers can bring about unnecessary strain to your employees and business. The time and energy your employees spend dealing with such customers and situations could have been better used for a much productive endeavor.
“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.”
You have to think “efficiency” when it comes to addressing this. It is always better to address a concern that needs less time and effort, but will give you the biggest desired results. Make your customers smart.
Below are a few initiatives that you can do to help your customers make the initiative to make themselves smart:
a. Information Dissemination – There are a number of ways that you can inform customers about your brand, merchandise, rewards, policies, promotions, etc. Posters, flyers, in-store announcements, etc. will work. Whatever method you choose, you have to keep it simple, accurate, direct, easy to read and understand, accessible, and as much as possible, try to keep the short. Not all customers have enough time to read through all the details. The key here is to entice customers to make themselves knowledgeable with what they need to know.
b. Label What Needs To Be Labeled – How many times have you seen customers ask where a particular merchandise can be found? How many times have you seen customers ask about the price of a particular merchandise? How many times have your seen customers ask what a particular merchandise is or what it does? These are just a few examples of situations that could have been easily addressed and avoided if your store is properly labeled with information that customers normally would ask. The problem with some stores is that they have labels, but they are not obvious enough for customers to see. The key here is to make your customers self-sufficient by easily locating the information that they are looking for.
c. Store Navigation – Do not give your customers and your employees a hard time navigating through your store. Your employees may have less difficulty, but your customers will definitely not experience the same. Having an organized and strategic positioning of your merchandise and putting up easy to see and read signage will do the job. Oh, and please, do not keep on switching locations of merchandise. It’s not a game or an “Amazing Race”. Your customers can help themselves locate what they are looking with ease.
d. User-friendly Website – It’s a given that a website should contain information that the customer would want to know. About the brand, pictures of merchandise, price and details of merchandise, policies, promotions, discounts, etc. Your website basically becomes a virtual version of your store and just like in a brick and mortar store, if a customer experiences difficulty shopping or simply getting information, the undesirable experience will have the same result. Everyone hates a website that is not user-friendly. This makes the website ineffective and will not serve its purpose. Not everyone is tech savvy and has the inclination to manage through website with ease. Navigating through a website should not be a challenge. Not being able to get to a particular page or information will frustrate anyone. This is a common pet peeve for most customers.
Some websites put too much focus on the products and neglect to put importance on policies which every customer needs to know. This mistake will further make your customers be ignorant about your policies. Just imagine how many customer complaints could have been avoided if only these customers knew your policies.
Your employees’ job is not to solely assist customers. They also have other duties that they need to spend precious time and energy on. If majority of an employee’s time and energy are spent assisting customers and left with little or none anymore for other tasks which cannot be ignored, you can expect an unproductive and burn out employee. By “teaching your customers to fish”, it will not just benefit your customers, but will significantly benefit your employees.