There is no such thing as a stupid question

There is no such thing as a stupid question

Don’t you just love it when someone starts telling you about a retail success story – only to find out it is a retailer that has 1000’s of employees and deep capabilities. I challenge you to not dismiss due to a self-perceived “not for me”; and see if there is something to be extracted that you can apply and win from! Customer service initiatives always seem to get the retail hesitant eye as they seem to be of global impact with teams of “champions” involved in the efforts. Don’t turn the page too quickly. There might be something there for any retailer!

Today’s shopper has heightened expectations for the user experience and the supporting customer service he or she receives. Customers have questions they want / need answered. It is YOUR JOB to make sure they get an acceptable and timely and consistent and accurate response. Retailers are going to great lengths to ensure that the complete customer journey is “The” experience that not only brings them back; it is also the “experience” that they enthusiastically rave about in their social networks. Try not answering questions. Worse yet, different answers based on whomever they ask!

Which leads me to a great practice that I encourage you to try:

What are the top questions you are asked as a retailer?

Across the board. Not just store hours and location (big ones – yes) – but the totality of questions. I bet you answered them all over time; some answers better than most. However, each customer question was an engagement opportunity to go right – or wrong. If someone asks – it is important to them; no matter how perceived by you.

Here is a great exercise (making sure this gets captured each time). During your weekly team meeting, solicit questions the team was asked and how they responded. Was the response worthy or does it need a bit of polish. Keeping in mind that no question is too small or insignificant. Take this list and then make sure the answer is in that “best experience” best foot forward posture. Continuously compile and post this list for all to see. Communication is key. Coach! This list will become your FAQ (and training material) so it is important that you not only handle the growing list of current questions, but you also revisit previous questions to ensure the responses are still accurate and best foot forward. Remember – sometimes it is not the fact that you say “No”, it is how you say the word.

Like anything, your new and continuously improving consumer FAQ (and team member training document) will grow more and more powerful over time; so the sooner you start AND stick with it – the sooner it will become yet another tremendous tool in your retail arsenal.

Again – they asked. It was important. Don’t miss an opportunity to impress.

Retail on!


Jesse Akre

President - Retailsystem