Recently Amazon made headlines after announcing on the 60 Minutes news program that it is exploring local, 30-minute delivery of its goods via helicopter drones in a few years. So if Amazon corners the local retail market on breadth of merchandise, delivery and great prices while big box stores also deliver rock-bottom prices, selection and immediate availability, what’s left for small- and medium-size retailers to differentiate themselves?
The answer is simple enough yet can be tough to execute: By offering customers the very best shopping experience possible.
Why’s it so challenging for most small- to medium-size businesses to create and deliver a consistently great customer experience? As we see it, three success factors are needed:
1. Define what a great customer experience should be. Obviously the foundation of a great customer experience is always attentive, responsive customer service. But many other tangible and intangible components exist, especially driven by technologies such as social media like Facebook and feedback sites like Yelp.
A good synopsis of the report, with actionable suggestions about defining a great customer experience, is available at smallbiztrends.com.
2. Hire good employees and train them to deliver it. Companies as diverse as FedEx, the Ritz-Carlton and Southwest Airlines are known for the excellence of their customer experience. What they also share is a “secret sauce” behind their brand reputations: good training.
Employees should be trained not only in how to greet customers effectively but also in the merchandise they’re selling, how to upsell and cross-sell other merchandise in helpful, consultative ways that put the customer’s interests first, and finally, how to conduct sales transactions efficiently. They should also understand clearly the store’s “brand” image to its customers and the competitive alternatives available to customers.
3. Give yourself and your employees time to deliver it and to gain feedback on how well it’s working. Of course, small- and medium-size retailers never seem to have enough time to do everything that’s demanding their attention each day. However, all those demands are moot without customers, so it’s important to prioritize. Even better is to outsource those activities that don’t contribute to a great customer experience.
One of those areas is cash management. Many store owners and managers think that handling cash themselves is a core activity because cash seems core to what they do. But if they’d think about it more, they’d realize that cash is as core to their business as their electricity or phones, yet they don’t spend time generating their own power or connecting calls to their stores.
In other words, cash is a commodity, like their utilities, and outsourcing its management can free up time to focus on developing and delivering a great customer experience—and getting feedback from customers on how well it’s working.
They don’t have to make bank deposits or visit the bank for change. In effect, with GardaWorld’s CashLINK service, their banks come to them. They also reduce or eliminate reconciliation errors and time needed to square up their cash receipts with deposits. In addition to freeing up time, retailers can also gain greater security against both external and internal theft.
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For retailers who are seeking more time in their days to focus on creating and delivering a great customer experience, CashLINK can be the low-cost cash management solution they need to help them find the time they need. For details about GardaWorld CashLINK services, please visit our CashLINK services web page.