Learning and Development

5 Skills Your Staff Needs to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service

4 Mins read

In an industry as competitive as retail, the success of a business often hinges on the skills and abilities of
its staff. You may be running a startup or steering a small-to-medium enterprise (SME); in either case,
the interactions between your team and your customers can make a significant difference to your
overall success and relevance in your home industry. And as customer expectations continue to evolve,
having a team that’s not just competent, but also versatile, is more important to your bottom line than
ever.


The retail landscape today demands a rather diverse skill set from its workforce. But from the tech-savvy
cashier to the empathetic sales associate, every role will contribute to the overall customer experience.
That means that your team needs to be able to do more than successfully make sales. In essence, they
should also be able to create a lasting impression on customers that encourages the latter to return.
Your understanding of your staff members’ skills and potential is a crucial part of this formula.
This article details the most important skills that your retail staff need in order to deliver exceptional
customer service. Here are five skills that you should take charge of upskilling them for:

1) Technology Proficiency

Much of the retail industry operates in a digital-forward environment, which means that tech-savviness
is a necessary skill at every level in the workforce. Part of your own efforts to make it big in modern
retail, knowing how complex the industry now is, may involve integrating technologies like digital
payment devices, e-commerce platforms, and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions into
your operations.

Tools like the digital POS system and handheld device combo Maya Terminal, a flagship product of the
Philippines’ Maya Business, are now completely reshaping how modern retailers conduct transactions.
This device allows for efficient processing of various payment methods including e-wallets, QR codes,
and card payments, which can help you cater to the diverse preferences of your customers.
However, with every piece of technology you onboard, you must train your staff about its use and teach
them about how it will improve the overall customer experience. For instance, the Maya POS terminal
guarantees security and ease of transactions thanks to its EMV certifications and PCI-DSS compliance. If
you’re using this device for your business based in the Philippines, your staff should know about how it
streamlines the checkout process and thus be able to assure your customers about the security of their
transactions.

The Maya Terminal price is well within reach for startups and smaller businesses, which means you
won’t have to worry about significant overhead costs taking a bite out of your budget. You also won’t
need to stress about a steep learning curve for a solution like this one, which means that it won’t be
hard to upskill your staff in its use.

2) Communication Skills

Communication is one of the cornerstones of effective customer service. In retail, this means being able
to speak clearly and persuasively and to listen attentively to customers’ concerns. Your staff’s ability to
understand and respond to customer inquiries, concerns, and feedback is critical for building a good reputation for your store. If they’re able to open up a dialogue where customers feel heard and valued,
those same customers are more likely to remember and return to your business.
Remember that effective communication goes beyond verbal interactions. It also encompasses body
language, tone of voice, and even the unspoken understanding of what a customer needs at the
moment. Training your team to be observant, to pick up on non-verbal cues, and to tailor their approach
to each individual customer can transform an otherwise average shopping experience into an
exceptional one.

Ingrain your staff the idea that each customer interaction they’re responsible for is an opportunity to
build a relationship, and not just make a sale. Encourage your team to adopt this perspective and to be
proactive about sharpening their communication skills.

3) Product Knowledge

Retail staff require a deep understanding of the products or services their company offers in order to
meet customer needs effectively. This knowledge will enable your team to provide accurate and
detailed information, which in turn builds trust and credibility with customers. If a staff member can
answer questions confidently and make informed recommendations, there’s a higher likelihood of them
closing a sale and crafting a shopping experience customers will come back for.
Moreover, thorough product knowledge can be a game-changer in handling diverse customer queries.
Whether it’s about the features, benefits, or compatibility of a product with another, well-informed staff
can guide customers to the best of their ability, which will ultimately lead to higher satisfaction and
loyalty.

In the retail world, an informed staff member should function as more than just a salesperson.
Customers should view them as an advisor, a consultant, and often, a key factor in the former’s
decision-making. Knowing that, train your staff to be knowledgeable about what you offer, as well as
confident when making their cases.

4) Problem-Solving Ability

Retail is an unpredictable environment where myriad issues can arise on the sales floor, ranging from an
overwhelming number of product queries to customer complaints that are difficult to resolve in one go.
Having staff with strong problem-solving skills can significantly mitigate these challenges. Your staff
should be capable of readily identifying issues and also thinking on their feet so that they can provide
customers with practical and satisfactory solutions.
Effective problem-solving in retail often requires staff members to be creative and patient, and it also
often tests their understanding of company policies and procedures. The issues can involve handling a
return, addressing a billing discrepancy, or managing out-of-stock situations; regardless, their ability to
work through them swiftly and efficiently can boost customer satisfaction by a large margin.
Your staff will need to practice this skill often, especially when alleviating the frustrations of customers
who have had a less-than-ideal experience. Their problem-solving skills—as well as their awareness to
acknowledge and do something about a problem as soon as possible—will keep your store in the good
graces of your customers.

5) Empathy

Empathy, or the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, is a powerful skill in the realm
of customer service. In retail, this translates to recognizing and responding to the emotions of
customers. An empathetic approach can turn even a routine transaction into a meaningful experience
that a customer will remember.
Your staff should remember that empathy is about more than just resolving customers’ complaints or
queries, but connecting with customers on a human level. Staff that show genuine care and concern for
customers will have an easier time building rapport and a sense of trust. Customers are more likely to
remember how they were made to feel during their interaction, which can influence their decision to
return or recommend the business to others.

In a field like retail, excellence must be nurtured at all levels. It’s your job to upskill your staff and to
involve them more directly in your customers’ experiences. Use the tips listed above as a starting point
for exceptional customer service, delivered by a team you can be proud of.

Further Reading:

Employee Expectations – 2024 Edition
2024 HR Trends

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