Keeping your clientele happy is, of course, an important part of building a successful business. To accomplish this, you need to know about the most common causes of customer frustrations.
Read on to uncover the seven common customer service complaints in retail to avoid.
1. Long Wait Times
The internet has certainly impacted consumer behavior. Nonetheless, research conducted by Synqera shows that more than two-thirds of Americans would rather browse a store than buy their products online.
Doing so has its drawbacks, though. 73 percent of consumers polled by Synqera said waiting in checkout lines is the number one pain point of shopping at stores. This is one of the common causes of customer frustrations we can all relate to. Nobody likes waiting in line, wasting valuable time when they could be getting on with other business.
Your business can eliminate long customer lines and reduce wait times by implementing an effective queue management system for retail. Doing so will empower your customers to wait where they want – from home, at the office while they finish work, or at a local cafe. Or they can spend that time browsing your store and adding more items to their basket – a win-win!
2. Inefficient Online-to-Offline Conversion
If consumers know a product they want is available in a nearby store, they might try to save time by purchasing the item online for an in-store pickup. Customers who do this expect their purchases to be ready when they arrive; they don’t expect to spend more than a few minutes inside.
These situations often go awry. If the consumers need to have to wait for a sales associate to help them out, or if their items are not ready upon arrival, they’re going to grow frustrated. In turn, the odds that they return will diminish.
When completing a purchase on your website, customers should receive an accurate pickup time estimate—eliminating one of the most common causes of customer frustrations.
3. A Lack of Personalized Service
The data is clear: a lack of personalized service is among the most significant common customer service complaints in retail.
According to research, retailers missed out on $150 billion dollars of revenue in 2016 by failing to give customers personalized service. Moreover, nearly half (49 percent) of all shoppers would pay more if they received personalized service, and more than one quarter (26.2 percent) of consumers said they value personalized service above all else when shopping in a retail store.
Whenever possible, make an effort to get to know your customers: their names, their personalities, their favorite products. Recognize loyal shoppers and offer them rewards for their business. Consider establishing loyalty reward programs, which make people far more likely to continue doing business.
4. A Lack of Product Knowledge
One of the most common customer service complaints in retail is a lack of knowledge from store employees. This is easily fixed by ensuring employees are well-versed on the products they need to sell.
If, for example, an entrepreneur is unsure what computer to buy for her business, a smart, knowledgeable sales associate can provide insights that are unique to her situation. A big reason why people take the time to visit brick-and-mortar stores is advice like that, and, according to research from Wharton School of Business, this still drives sales in the digital age.
5. Unavailable Sales Associates
Your employees could have an encyclopedic knowledge of your products, but if they’re not on the floor, that intelligence is all for naught. Furthermore, if customers feel that it’s too difficult to find or approach a sale associate, this can result in more shoppers leaving your store empty-handed.
Sales associates need to be around at all times to answer questions and help customers check out. Just being on the floor isn’t enough, however; they need to engage shoppers and always look approachable. Additionally, the right number of staff needs to be available at different times of the day, such as during peak hours and around holidays.
6. Uninspiring Store Atmosphere
Another reason people shop in person is for the atmosphere – aka “retail therapy.” The music, the lighting, the layout, the colors—each part of a store’s ambiance affects how shoppers feel in a store. One common customer service complaint in retail is an atmosphere that doesn’t evoke position emotions.
Based on a study from International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research, all store atmospheric factors, positive and negative, have significant impacts on customer approach behaviors. When building an environment, prioritize convenience and consider your audience’s interests to create a welcome and inviting shopping experience.
7. Unnecessary Sales Pitches
Almost every consumer enters a store with a general idea of what he or she wants. So it should come as no surprise that many common customer service complaints that are made in retail stores involve unnecessary sales pitches.
Indeed, taking a shopper’s time to inform them about a product they may have no interest in is a guaranteed way to irritate them. You can easily avoid this by observing your customers and allowing them take the lead. It’s fair to ask open questions, such as, “Are you looking for something in particular today?” But don’t hassle shoppers when they’re in the zone and peacefully browsing your store.
Once your customer has expressed interest in a particular set of products, steer them towards the best option based on their specific needs. If an upsell opportunity presents itself, that’s great! However, if the customer has clearly made a decision and is ready to buy, trying to force unwanted products on them is risky –– and could cost you their business altogether.