One of the things I am passionate about is women. Making women feel confident in the clothes they wear, where they find them, how they style them and what are the things they should be looking for when thinking about their style each season. I have built my business around making this experience better, easier, nicer for women through fashion classes, corporate events, videos and other nice stuff!
In the haze that is the fashion runways, hottest trends and must have buys, women can get lost, feel a huge amount of pressure and back away into the safe corners of ‘doing what they have always done’, feeling like a pawn in the fashion industries elitist game.
Well, the fashion landscape IS changing with social media turning real women into fashion powerhouses! The fashion industry is tiring of it’s ivory tower and falling in love with real women again. I for one am very happy. In fact #NYFW (New York Fashion Week) kicked off last week and so far at the time of writing not one but two very brave designers (Chromat and Zana Byrne) sent plus size models down the runway showcasing next seasons trends.
With this in mind,Stylefish has been working closely with and training staff in the clothing alterations franchise, The Zip Yard who, like me, are passionate about their customer experience and making sure their customer feels confident about her body shape and the clothes she wears particularly through one of their key and most popular services – restyling the you have in your wardrobe! Tomorrow I will be meeting all my lovely Zip Yard staff for our seasonal refresher so I thought for this week’s post I would share some of my top tips and ideas for retailers and those engaged in making their customer experience better over the season ahead.
My Top 8 Retail Tips to better your customer experience:
1. Your customers experience starts from the moment she walks in through your door. What discoveries will your customer make as part of her experience with you? Discoveries to get her excited about what you can do, discoveries to make her feel comfortable asking you for help? Information points, private consultation rooms, tip sheets on your counter…
2. How well do you know your loyal customers? Do you understand what they want from you? How do you offer more? Do you run customer evenings? Special offers? How do you keep track of your customers body shape, preferences and past work you have done for them that will better equip you to help your customer in the future.
3. Always remember you/ your staff are everything. Your staff represent your shop, your brand and your service. It is crucial your customer feels inspired, confident and comfortable when walking up to your staff. Some of the most important to consider include: neat and tidy uniform, open body language, confidence in leading questions and making the customer comfortable, every staff member having a clear understanding of your customer process, their attention to detail, making sure your customer facing staff have the time to ensure the customer interaction is as good as it should be.
4. Recognise that if you have undergone training or you have made improvements to your customer offering or to your shop, how are you educating your customer about these developments? Your customer needs to be told, educated and led through what’s special about your shop experience.
5. Recognise your staff’s ability & reward achievements. Something that is really important for me in my Zip Yard training has been in making sure staff feel excited and confident about their new qualification, their new knowledge and how this will effect and help their customer and their relationship with their customer. All that hard work and training to better your customer experience should be rewarded and recognised.
6. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Most customers are not used to exceptional service. I would always aim to introduce one element to your customer process that adds an element of surprise and delight. Your customer will remember this more than anything else. Things like giving them something extra to take away (tips sheets, styling advice, loyalty cards etc).
7. Your customer might want your help but might be afraid to ask. It is a special talent to make your customer feel at ease with you, to know the right questions to ask and you will usually find the shyest of customers will be delighted with personal advice so they feel confident in their decisions. However, if you only have one staff member who is trying to do 100 things at once, how is it possible to make your customer happy? Think through all of your shop processes to ensure your customer facing staff can do their job properly.
8. Listening to your customer is so important. I find that little things women say can give so much insight into how they feel about an item of clothing. For example, asking the question ‘Why do you think you don’t wear this dress?’ You will find your customer opens up with lots of little things that give you insight as to what you might be able to do to the item to help restyle it so they get wear from it. Little things like where the dress draws the eye to (is the length wrong), if she holds her weight on her top half and it is sleeveless this is probably something she is conscious of (could you add sleeves), is it the wrong fabric (could you add a lining or change the flow?).
The bottom line is retailers (and all business owners) can get so caught up in the hum drum of running a business everyday, they can forget to take that all important step back and look at their customers experience through their eyes. From the moment they walk through your door, to the moment they leave, what can you do to ensure your customer is surprised, delighted and in the words of Walt Disney ‘will be back and bring their friends.”
New season, new ideas, new start!