Are you looking for a new approach to customer service? Before you look too far, you may first want to examine your current practices. Sometimes, the pursuit of something new causes managers to forget about basic principles of customer service and employee training that are the foundation of convenience store success. Here are a few to keep in mind:
Know Your Customers
Convenience store customers are different from customers browsing in a retail store or going out to eat in a restaurant. Often, they know exactly what they want, and they expect your staff to be as focused as they are. When they come in with a question or a different need, they expect quick and professional service.
Practice Basic Etiquette
They’re simple, but often forgotten, words: “Please.” “Thank you.” “You’re welcome.” “How can I help?” “I’m sorry.” All customers deserve to be treated with common courtesy, even when the business of their lives causes them to forget their own manners. As a convenience store manager, you must train your staff on basic etiquette, and model it in your own behavior.
Customers will have problems sometimes – that’s just a reality in this business. Often, customers are influenced more by how they’re treated when an issue arises than they are with the issue itself. Train employees on the basic problem-solving technique of “L.A.S.T,” which stands for Listen – Apologize – Solve – Thank.
Remember “Be Our GUEST”
This simple acronym encompasses the basic principles of customer service training for convenience store employees: G.U.E.S.T. It stands for:
- Greeting: Start every customer interaction out on the right foot with a friendly greeting.
- Understanding: Listen to your guests to understand what they need and respect their time.
- Eye contact: When you make eye contact with guests, you’re sending a non-verbal cue that they’re important to you.
- Speed of service: Even when the store gets very busy, guests must be served as quickly as possible. Quick thinking and prioritization keeps the “convenience” in convenience store.
- Thank: Keeping with the theme of practicing etiquette and basic principles of customer service, thank every customer on every visit.
Change is often a good thing, but as you pursue new ideas, don’t forget to stay grounded in the basic principles of customer service that people have come to expect of you and your staff.
Customer Service Training
Our Early Success Series is a comprehensive program that covers a wide variety of topics important to new convenience store employees. Modules within this series also make excellent refreshers for all employees. Click here for more info.