Recently I have doing a lot of research for a new book that I am writing. It’s mostly about running a bridal shop so a large part of it is about customer service. Even when I was working as a store manager I knew that the thing that was most important about my job was not getting the perfect collection or providing sales training to the team, it was implementing a service culture into the organization which could provide the best possible service for our brides. You can have great sales people, but without great service your store still can’t benefit from their strength.
The greatest mistake
The greatest mistake I see in many bridal stores is the assumption that customer service in a bridal store is not as important as it is in other stores because the customer is only a one time client. Or in other words; “If the bride is not happy to bad, she is not coming back anyway!”
The reputation of your bridal store depends on the voice of the bride. Not only does her recommendation help you sell more brides, it also proves your value beyond anything you could say yourself about your store. People believe other customers and not the seller!
At the end of any transaction, that’s when the customer STARTS talking about you. They will say one of five things about what transpired: something great, something good, nothing, something bad, or something really bad. And whatever they say leads to the next sale – either at your place, or your competition’s place. – Jeffrey Gittomer (21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling)
Creating a service culture at your store should be as much planned as you have a marketing plan or a financial plan in place. It should be used, trained and reinforced every single day to create the best possible experience for brides.
So ask yourself the following questions:
- If I was a bride would my store be the place I would want to buy my wedding dress at?
- Are my consultants doing everything they can to make every crazy dream our brides have into a reality?
- Does my staff care more about how a bride feels than they do about how the bride makes them feel?
- Do we have a “YES” culture in place rather than a maybe or even worse a “NO”culture?
- Are we always doing the best thing, the right thing for our brides?
- Is your team looking for service opportunities every chance they get?
If you have NO to one or more of these question than start by making the necessary changes TODAY! Nowadays it is not about the store with the most or the best collection, it is not about being the largest store in your area, nowadays it is all about CREATING THE BEST POSSIBLE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE FOR BRIDES.
Here are some things to keep in mind when implementing a service culture:
- Have a customer service plan in place. Minimal acceptable standards, your vision about service, methods of response for different scenarios with the best possible answers.
- Hire people with a positive attitude. Positive attitude is more important than experience.
- It is not important how you feel; it is important how the bride feels. The bride is the center of the universe at your store.
- Create a YES atmosphere! Make dreams come true.
- Try not to meet the bride’s expectation but try to exceed her expectations.
- Enable your consultants to make decisions that increase customer satisfaction.
- Be grateful! Never forget to thank a bride when buying a dress.
- When you make a mistake fix it immediately. Mistakes are not problems but opportunities for customer service!
- Ask you customers how you can improve your service. Be eager to learn how you can do better every single time.
- Don’t improve your service because you want to make more sales, create the best possible service experience for brides because it is the right thing to do!
Put customer service before sales and I promise your sales will sky rocket! If you want to learn more about customer service and sales techniques for your bridal store then read my manual Selling in Bridal.