Sure, you’ll be out of stock on a popular item from time to time. We’re all human, so situations like that are unavoidable. But you can minimize the unpleasant surprises your customers experience by paying attention to a few basics of, well, customer experience. [level-members]
We’ve touched on one of the key aspects of customer experience already: product. You’ve got to consistently stock great merchandise and have it available in appropriate quantities. Which isn’t to say that some idiot can’t be annoyed that you don’t have 20 cases of his favorite wine for a party he’s throwing – tonight. You just don’t have to view his fit as a black mark on your record.
But keeping your shelves stocked and your staff up to speed on recommendations for alternatives when you don’t have something available is a great way to meet customer expectations, and to consistently deliver a great experience.
Your shop has a starring role in customer experience, as well. It can’t be shabby, it can’t be in disrepair. That means taking the time to look at the shop with fresh eyes. You might not notice the burned out light bulbs in that one corner of the shop; you’re used to them. But your customers notice, even if only somewhat less than consciously. Your best bet here is to systematize. That is, create a system, probably a series of checklists, that you go through each time you open and close the shop. That makes it a lot harder to overlook the squeaky door or the stain on the floor.
Finally, nothing has a bigger impact on customer experience than the people you hire and their attitudes. If they don’t care, it shows.
Again, nobody is perfect and we all have bad days from time to time, but there should be a day-in, day-out attitude that doesn’t need to be re-enforced. It’s their natural default attitude. And it had better be yours, because employees are going to take their cues from the top.
Pay attention to these items and a lot of the other aspects of customer experience will take care of themselves. Ignore them, and you’re on a dangerous path of indifference that your customers will pick up on and seek to avoid.