What do customers want? Service management in a shoe store: modern approaches
22.04.2019 20926

What do customers want? Service management in a shoe store: modern approaches

Modern people are accustomed to good service, and their expectations and requirements are constantly growing. And what was a wow-emotion yesterday, today is the norm. Compliance with expectations leaves the buyer indifferent to the store. Now this is only the minimum that allows you to not cause negative emotions. But if you exceed the expectations of the buyer - he is yours! The fashion sales expert, who has extensive practical experience in shoe retail, a well-known blogger, talks about how to build service standards, current trends of customer-oriented service, what customers like and dislike about their service, the work of sellers of shoe stores. Elena Vinogradova.

Elena Vinogradova Elena Vinogradova - an expert in sales and purchases in the fashion business. Author of a business blog for clothing, footwear and accessories stores.


Psychologists say that we buy in order to solve the problem and get rid of any negative emotions or in order to experience positive emotions. When are our impressions the most vivid? In the case when our expectations diverge from real experience, when a gap occurs. Below are three examples of different situations where expectations coincide or do not coincide with reality:

  1. I went to the store to buy shoes, and in the insole - a nail. The seller is naughty, cheated at the checkout. The service does not meet expectations, as a result - negative emotions, no more foot here.
  2. I ordered boots in the online store, they all arrived on time, the shoes came up, the purchase took place. Everything is fine, expectations = reality, the buyer has not experienced anything special, this is a normal service.
  3. The client came to the store, chose the shoes, and he was offered to process them for free by impregnation from moisture and dirt, and they also gave a coupon at a discount of 50% to replace the heels in the next workshop. Service exceeded expectations. The client experiences vivid emotions and remembers it forever.

Modern people are accustomed to good service, and their expectations and requirements are constantly growing. And what was a wow-emotion yesterday, today is the norm. Compliance with expectations leaves the buyer indifferent to the store. Now this is only the minimum that allows you to not cause negative emotions. But if you exceed the expectations of the buyer - he is yours!

Examples of exceeding customer expectations in a shoe store:

  • Play with the baby while mom is busy shopping;
  • Borrow an umbrella to the buyer if there is a downpour on the street;
  • Call the buyer in a day or two and find out the impressions of the purchase, whether he is satisfied with everything;
  • Rejoice at customers, not checks;
  • Treat coffee, offer a waiting journal a fresh journal;
  • Rejoice about defective returns as an opportunity to acquire a loyal customer;
  • Provide a discount on repairs or minor repairs for free;
  • Put in a box with shoes a card with personal wishes from the owner of the business or a note with funny quotes on the topic of shoes;
  • Ask for opinions and suggestions from customers about your work and reward those whose ideas have been implemented.

Service in the modern sense is not just a solution to a customer’s problem, it is the creation of a positive emotional customer experience. And for the positive experience 86% of customers are willing to pay more.

Service in numbers

According to foreign statistics, customer-oriented strategies give:

  • Increase repeat purchases by 66%;
  • Decrease in customer losses due to dissatisfaction by 77%;
  • Increase in the influx of new customers by 51%.

It is also estimated that:

  • The cost of attracting a new customer is 5 times higher than the cost of retaining an existing one;
  • An increase in the percentage of customer retention by 5% increases the company's profit by at least 50%;
  • About 50% of customers are unprofitable due to inefficient interaction with them.

These statistics indicate that the service is earning.

Service and Standards

Speaking of service, we often mean service standards.

If there are no standards, this is anarchy: no one is obliged to do anything, everyone can do anything. Service is a reflection of the owner, so before you ask for something from the staff - understand for yourself how you want to work with clients. And then agree on this with the team. Service is not done without staff. Having developed the standards, you will establish the rules of the game. But if your employees do not understand them, they do not separate them and perform them only under supervision. Turn away - stop. Therefore, standards are not a service.

If we really want to get a service that exceeds customer expectations, the first thing to understand: a real service is only sincere. “Sincere service is when you do for the client not only what you should, but also what you can not do” (Maxim Nedyakin, “Sincere service. How to motivate employees to do more for the client than enough, even when the boss doesn’t look ”, published by“ Mann, Ivanov and Ferber ”, 2014).

This service is not about duty, it starts where you sincerely do something extra, on your own behalf. From the heart, at the behest of the heart, guided by your feelings towards customers and even going beyond the standards.

It is impossible to get people to do such a service. It is not created by rules and regulations. Sincere service is a conscious desire and choice of an employee. In general, the best recommenders of the company are its employees. They must not only love, but also know your company. Therefore, the main task is to get the staff not to blindly follow the standards, but to understand them. And this is a matter of educating the value system and service culture in the company. The team will be guided by values ​​after people understand them, believe in them and begin to share them. And they will be able to communicate with customers sincerely and freely, and not automatically and through scripts. This is the task of the leader, realized through training.

Therefore, we first highlight the key values ​​of the company (for example, customer care, friendliness, hospitality, the principle of “first I will help, then I will receive”), and then we develop standards based on values. Yours. Not typical or borrowed from another player, but only yours. In which there are answers to the following questions:

  • What are we saying and not mentioning?
  • What impression points do we have and what results do we want in each of them?
  • What exactly are we doing in a given situation?

What are impression points?

Impression points (or contact points) are any situations in which a consumer meets with your company and forms an opinion about it.

Possible points of contact of the buyer with the shoe store:

  • Advertising
  • Website and social networks
  • Reviews and your reaction to them
  • Phone call
  • Store location
  • Parking
  • The appearance of the store
  • Greeting at the entrance
  • The appearance of the staff
  • Trading Hall, fitting area
  • Staff consultation
  • Cash desk service
  • Returns Service

At points of contact you can exceed customer expectations and create a positive impression. Having correctly defined the points of impression and having achieved sincere service in each of them, you will form the loyalty of your customers. The more important the impression point for the client is, the more effort and money the company invests in it. The less important the customer is, the less attention needs to be paid to this. At every point, you must understand what your client expects and give it to him. If you sell comfortable shoes, such as Rieker, then your customer cares about comfort and convenience. Your client should feel this concern in any contact with your company.

Modern service trends

Very often sellers ask the question: what do you want? Half of the customers do not know what they want and do not know if it is in your store. In the modern retail, those companies that will consider sales as a long-term relationship with a client will win: they will help him solve his problem, and not “vparivat” here and now.

This trend for a long-term relationship with a client determines the 3 components of a winning service strategy:

1. To be able to help the client to accurately determine his need.

2. To be able to guide / guide the client according to his capabilities, taking into account his needs.

3. Do not be afraid of comparison with competitors and let the client go if you understand that you do not have the product that interests him, but the competitor does. Moreover - to guide the buyer where to go and make a purchase.

We will reveal each item in more detail.

1. To be able to help the buyer to accurately determine his need.

How to do it: sincerely interested in what the client needs. Communicate openly and with a smile, listen more, ask questions.

2. To be able to accompany the client according to the possibilities of the store, taking into account his needs.

How to do it: Know your range thoroughly:

  • brand features;

  • be sure to try on all the receipts to all sellers in the store, in order to know the fit models on the leg, the nuances of the shoes in fullness and length;

  • to know fashion trends in shoes, clothes and accessories, because the buyer will wear shoes as part of the image and is unlikely to want to look tasteless or out of date;

  • know the basic stylistic rules for combining shoes with clothes to give a competent answer to the common question: “What will I wear it with?”

  • Know how to care for your shoes so that they look longer like new;

  • know the availability of sizes and prices;

  • own information about receipts: terms and assortment.

3. Let the buyer go to a competitor if you understand that his product suits him better than yours. Do not be scared. Telling exactly where to go. This is a sign of a strong player and the right move in the long term - you really help the client solve their problem instead of a hysterical search and offer anything other than what the buyer needs. In the latter case, you will get irritated in return and lose points in his eyes. But if a client, thanks to your advice, buys what he needs elsewhere, you will receive his gratitude, gain trust and respect by showing that in the first place you have not the notorious "cut the money", but sincere help to the buyer. You will make him loyal to YOU.

How to do it: know the assortment and prices of competitors. Regularly (at least 1-2 once a week) visit their stores to be “in the know”.

What do customers like and dislike about the service?

A recent survey of about 500 visitors to clothing and footwear stores from different cities of Russia revealed the most unpleasant moments for the customer in the service.

So, customers do NOT like when:

  • Sellers follow them on the heels, stand behind them, gaze, that is, intrusive service.

  • Endless spam in WA / SMS with a bunch of photos of the new collection.

  • The seller asks: "Help you?"

  • The staff enters the fitting room without warning.

  • The staff corrects the calculation immediately after the buyer, clearly hinting to him that he has disturbed the order in the seller’s kingdom.

  • The seller does not know the range.

  • The seller is a pseudo expert. He speaks a lot, but it is clear that he does not understand the collection and trends.

  • The staff evaluates the buyer in appearance and from this builds their communication with him, the so-called "wallet service". The more money a client has, the wider the smile.

I note that many respondents noted that they do not like when sellers speak about the action from the doorstep and immediately start aleatherg questions. Dense customer management no longer works. The buyer wants to look around and contact the seller himself if necessary. The phrase "Thank you, I just look" is the leader in the response of visitors to sellers. Do you know why? Not because people don’t need help. I need it. Otherwise, they would buy on the Internet, sitting on the couch. And because this phrase is a defense against template approaches and inept contact. From dry, hackneyed standards and memorized phrases. Therefore, it is important that the contact is genuine, lively and unbanal.

A case from practice in a jewelry store: the seller welcomes me at the entrance, I say hello in response to the question “Are you interested in something specific?” I omit the standard visor of a modern buyer: “No, I'm just watching.” The seller gave me time to look around and when I lazily twisted the bracelet, I went up and asked: "Do you know that we have all the jewelry made of hypoallergenic materials?" So we started a dialogue, eventually ending in a purchase. By his question, he managed to interest me and engage me in communication, removed one of the main “pains” of jewelry buyers - the quality of materials.

For a shoe store, such catch phrases can be, for example:

  1. Did you know that in our store the guarantee for shoes is 60 days?

  2. If you have 5 minutes, I would like to show you our new products, we only received the delivery, please tell me your opinion about these models?

  3. We are conducting a survey, what color of the boats our clients love, can I ask you which ones you like best - beige or scarlet?

  4. I noticed that you look bright shoes. Let me show you the colors that only we have. You will not find this in the entire shopping center.

  5. If the client nevertheless tells you “Thank you, I will see everything myself” - do not get lost, like most consultants, who disappear forever after this answer. The best reaction is a friendly smile and the phrase “Good. My name is Elena, if you are interested in something, I’m near and can be of service to you. ” And re-approach at the opportunity, do not leave the initiative to appeal only to the client.

Believe me (and check!), All this is much more effective than the sore-tired question “What can I offer you?” Or “Are you looking for something specific?”. Look for topics of catch phrases in the features of your assortment and the needs of your target audience, in the behavior of the client in the hall in the first minutes: what he looks at, what he picks up, what he is dressed in, who he came with.

Now about what customers like about service.

Customers love when the seller:

  • Hello (didn’t do it - at 70% they lost the client).

  • It looks like the “face” of a store / brand: form (clothes and shoes), hairdo, makeup, manicure, smell - everything harmoniously corresponds to the place where the seller works.

  • He smiles sincerely, not under duress.

  • He knows the assortment from and to.

  • Keeps a distance.

  • Located in the visibility range of the buyer.

  • Demonstrates a willingness to provide assistance at any time upon request.

  • Combines a psychologist and a stylist.

  • Friendly, regardless of the result.

About after-sales service

Return of defective shoes is the most painful point of contact between the buyer and the store. This is the most common reason for negative customer reviews and, ironically, the area of ​​work with personnel, which shoe companies still devote time to the residual principle. All trainings are usually aimed at sales or, as in the case of a return, to comply with legal requirements. And the main thing in a return situation is to introduce a negatively tuned client into a neutral or positive state. To return him a good emotional state. Remember that the best way to make a customer loyal is to pay for his mistake. Customer error is a company problem. For example, if dirty shoes were brought to you for refund - this is a company problem, you did not explain the rules to the client.

Often, it is a service in relation to a client who is not right and gives real loyalty. And on this basis it is necessary to build staff training.

The strong points here are:

  1. Apologize even if the client is wrong.

  2. Take responsibility.

  3. Recognize deficiencies that may not exist.

  4. Thank the client for their attention to the quality of the goods, because this is the priority of the company, and with it you will strengthen control in this area.

In my practice of working with the owners of the shoe business, I occasionally encounter fines for returning defective goods, as part of the store staff motivation system. In this case, there is no need to talk about customer-oriented service. Defective shoes are the supplier’s area of ​​responsibility, and it’s necessary to work with him, for example, to fix in the contract the actual deadlines for returning production defects - 2 of the year, and not the season. But shifting this responsibility onto the shoulders of the staff is detrimental to the service.

Another interesting point - about the timing of the return. No one dares to tell the client that he can return the shoes for a manufacturing defect within two years. This is a terrible secret, which the owner of a shoe store justifies with the postulate: "I will say - and I will be filled up with returns." Do not fill up. Firstly, many customers already know this. Secondly, if they don’t know, then, having discovered a defect, they will be upset and will go to the competitor, and you will eventually lose the client. An open extension of the warranty period from standard 30 days from the date of purchase to at least 6 months or a year, or even a real two years - a powerful competitive advantage!

So, how to organize service management in a shoe store?

1. State key company values ​​(philosophy, mission).

2. Define impression points and customer expectations in your segment.

3. Realistically evaluate yourself and your competitors.

4. Set the rules of the game - develop standards for all processes of interaction with customers, based on the values ​​of the company, write standards in the language of staff.

5. First, sell the service to staff: train employees and do it continuously to educate and maintain the right value system. Better yet, recruit people with similar values ​​instilled in childhood.

6. “PR” service and create a culture of service in the company: collect examples of outstanding customer service by your employees and use them in promoting your service strategy. Openly acknowledge the achievements of your people and post these stories in the public domain, discuss at meetings, develop and “virus” service in a team!

7. Establish constant feedback with customers and create conditions for them so that they simply cannot help telling your friends! Service - these are customers who recommend and are true.

8. ACT. Introduce new ideas and services. Do MORE. Do from the SOUL. Do it sincerely. Love your customers. Remember that attention and care is not worth anything. But it gives so much!

This article was published in the 148 issue of the print version of the magazine.

Modern people are accustomed to good service, and their expectations and requirements are constantly growing. And what was a wow-emotion yesterday, today is the norm. Compliance with expectations leaves the buyer indifferent ...
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