Customer loyalty, and thus referrals, are critical to the success of flooring retailers. While offering quality products is important, great customer service is often the key factor in creating a loyal customer base and generating referrals. Let’s explore this concept with real-world examples from other industries.
The Ritz-Carlton has a policy that empowers employees to spend up to $2,000 per day per guest to solve any customer problem. They also have a program called “WOW Stories,” which encourages employees to share stories about going above and beyond for customers. These stories are then shared throughout the organization to inspire others to do the same.
How it applies to the flooring industry: Empower your employees to solve customer problems. Celebrate when they go above and beyond for customers. This will create a culture of exceptional customer service that your customers will notice and appreciate.
Nordstrom has a policy of “doing whatever it takes” to make the customer happy, which has included everything from shipping a pair of shoes to a customer who forgot them at a hotel to accepting a return of a snow tire (even though they don’t sell snow tires). They also offer free alterations and have personal stylists available to help customers find the perfect outfit.
How it applies to the flooring industry: Go above and beyond for your customers, even if it means going outside your normal services. Offer free services like design consultations, and make sure your staff is well trained to provide exceptional customer service.
Rapha is a high-end cycling apparel brand that offers free coffee, food and Wi-Fi in their retail locations. The amenities create a welcoming and comfortable environment for customers and they often spend more time browsing and trying on merchandise.
How it applies to the flooring industry: Flooring retailers can create a similar environment in their showrooms with free refreshments and comfortable seating areas.
Tips for providing great service:
- Listen to your customers. This is the first step in providing great customer service. Take the time to understand your customer’s needs and concerns and work with them to find solutions that meet those needs.
- Provide personalized service. Get to know your customers and their preferences and use that information to create a customized experience for them.
- Be responsive. Be responsive to your customers’ needs. Respond to inquiries and complaints promptly and professionally and be proactive in reaching out to customers to ensure their satisfaction.
- Follow up. Following up with customers after a sale or service demonstrates your commitment to their satisfaction. It also provides an opportunity to address any concerns they may have and to ask for feedback. Subscribe them to your newsletter.
Jim Augustus Armstrong is the founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides floor dealers with marketing services and coaching to help them attract quality customers, close more sales, get higher margins and work the hours they choose. For information visit FlooringSuccessSystems.com.