The top 7 retail customer service mistakes that businesses make, and how to fix them

When it comes to retail business success, customer service is critical. With the industry commanding a massive $23.7 trillion worldwide, buyers stick to brands they can trust. 58% of retail customers said customer service heavily influenced their decision to buy. So, retail businesses must consider how they can provide the best experiences.

Even a seemingly small customer service mistake can have devastating consequences. More than 60% of consumers say they will switch to a competitor after just one poor customer service experience with a company, so these mishaps lose valuable business.

In this article, we’ll cover seven retail customer service mistakes to avoid and discuss long-term, human-focused solutions, such as outsourcing, that help create a positive customer experience and promote loyalty.

7 common customer service mistakes that retail businesses make

 As retail is one of the leading industries in the world, good customer service is critical to remaining competitive and winning customers.  So what are a few of the common retail customer service mistakes? Let’s take a look.

1. Hiring the wrong people

Retail employees act as the face and personality of a company. If staff is accessible, approachable, and friendly, customers will likely view brands that way. Unfortunately, the current recruitment market presents challenges in finding the right retail staff.

35% of retail businesses listed the competitive hiring market as a top concern in recruitment. Shifting to a perpetual hiring model could remedy this as it would overcome the effects of a high turnover rate on strong customer service. Alternatively, incentives or outsourcing can help maintain the necessary workforce.

2. Failing to provide adequate training

Poorly trained employees are likely to feel overwhelmed or undervalued, which reduces workplace productivity, loyalty and engagement. This can lead to negative customer interactions, especially when employees don’t have the right information to help or lack the skills to communicate with a customer productively.

Giving employees the necessary skills as soon as they’re hired saves time, money and resources you’d spend to rectify mistakes later on. Consider investing in customer service, brand, and sensitivity training to ensure each employee can provide optimal customer interactions.

3. Not listening to customers

Hiring the wrong people and failing to provide adequate training can lead to issues, including an ability to listen to and understand customers. Most, if not all, ​​customers contact support services because they have specific problems. But, if customers feel ignored, they’re far more likely to turn to a competitor.

Retail businesses must ensure there are options in place for customers to submit their queries and adequately staff representatives who can tackle and actively listen to customers.

4. Relying too much on online options

As much of retail transitions online, many physical shops are closing. This transition means that automated systems, AI, and FAQ pages have become increasingly popular forms of customer service. But, sometimes, customers want to speak to people, and failing to offer this can alienate those who want a more personal touch.

Human problems require human solutions. As 58% of consumers still prefer using the phone for customer service needs, customers should be able to speak to a real person about their queries. Additionally, investing in well-trained people who can easily handle customer’s needs will help them feel valued.

5. Creating ‘too good to be true’ policies

 Over-promising or offering policies that are ‘too good to be true’ can also break down trust with customers.

 Ryanair, for example, is well-known for its cheap tickets. However, many customers are unaware of the hidden costs that could be waiting for them down the line, such as carry-on baggage or check-in fees. These frustrations caused by feeling misled resulted in major backlash in 2016, leading to a lawsuit for £315 million.

Transparency and managing customer expectations are essential. Avoid making promises that aren’t as they seem could lead to mistrust with customers.

6. Using outdated methods of working

With outdated working models, it’s far more challenging to stay on top of customer needs and find quick solutions. The customer experience is changing, and team structures must be flexible to meet those changes.

Autonomous or self-managed team models are increasingly popular, as this approach bypasses the bottleneck or hurdles of traditionally managed teams. As a result, employees can improve the customer experience and handle queries more effectively because they can find solutions independently rather than working through the ranks.

 7. Taking too long to respond — or not responding at all

90% of customers expect to receive immediate responses when they have a customer service inquiry. Companies must ensure their agents provide customers with timely answers, whether online, by email, or by phone.

Slow response times can lead to poor reviews that harm a brand image. For example, sports retail shop Sports Direct is considered to provide slow or no responses when dealing with customer problems. As a result, they only have 1 star on Trustpilot.

Focusing on speedy and efficient responses and resolutions can increase a brand’s reliability and build trust with customers, which can ultimately lead to more business.

Outsourced customer support services help provide a good experience

Outsourcing the customer service function is a great way to overcome common retail customer service mistakes as it helps businesses quickly offer positive interactions and effective resolutions.

Many businesses will struggle to source and retain the best talent in the near future as 41% of people are considering quitting their jobs in the next year. But, outsourcing lets retail businesses lessen query response times without needing to constantly recruit and scale staff.

Ultimately, outsourcing customer support services is more cost-effective than constantly recruiting, hiring, and training in-house. It also offers agility and flexibility as you can access expert customer service professionals skilled in handling all situations. With the help of outsourcing solutions like Sigma Connected, retail businesses can sustain customer loyalty and maintain happier teams.

Provide outstanding retail customer service with Sigma Connected

Sigma Connected can help you focus on the human side of customer service. With your customers In the hands of our trusted professionals, you can avoid the common customer service mistakes that impact retail businesses.

We offer high-quality, flexible, outsourced customer support services that help you expertly support customer queries and handle peak call volumes with ease. We work across all communication channels, making it easy to deploy our services quickly and become accessible in whichever method customers prefer.

Learn how to thrive in retail by enhancing your customer service. Discover more about our customer service solutions by contacting us today.


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