Customer service might be the single most important thing for your bridal store. It is the one thing that can set you apart from the competition. It has the power to make you more successful than your competitors even if you have a smaller collection or smaller store. Putting your customers first will not only create a great place for brides to visit but also a great place for your consultants to work. Benefits are all around! Start creating a plan today to increase your customer service and enjoy the results that will come from it. Here are 10 steps to help you get started.

1)      Make customer service a priority for every person in your bridal store. The first step is to make clear to your entire staff that EVERYONE plays an extremely important role no matter what their position is; from the receptionist, to the consultants, to the alterations department. Customer service only works when everybody is on board!

2)      Only hire people who already have a customer service attitude. Ask them about previous experiences they have had with customer service. Ask them if they have examples of themselves going above and beyond to help a customer get what they want. Some people have great stories and this will guarantee a great addition to your team’s customer service attitude.

3)      Write down your company’s core values and hand them out to the whole team. Put them up in the shared staff room and make sure they live by those values.

4)      Create a customer-centric organization. The customer is the center of the universe in your organization so go above and beyond to help your customer find what they are looking for. Every now and then you’ll have a bride that will not purchase a dress unless she has tried on another dress which is not a part of your collection, and one that she just can’t take her mind out of. You can let her go to try on this dress at one of your competitors or you can ask to borrow the dress from the brand (if it’s a brand you stock) and schedule a second appointment. The extra service will almost certainly guarantee you the sale. It will cost you a little effort and maybe some money for transport, but it will be worth it in the end.

5)      Give great service to everyone: customers, employees, and the representatives of your brands. “Give and you will receive” is the old saying. When you start giving not only to your customers but also to your employees and the representatives you will receive in return. By giving I mean taking care of the welfare and workplace enjoyment of your employees, staying in contact with your vendors and inviting them to the store every now and then. Treat them to something special once in a while. When people feel positive about your company they will do more for you. This works not only for customers but also for your own employees and partners vendors.

6)      Think outside of the box. Offer service that other stores don’t offer so you will stand out and people will start spreading the news: Send a thank you card after the bride has purchased a dress at your store; Offer a discount on the groom’s outfit after the bride has purchased with you. There are many different ways to show appreciation.

7)      Say thank you! Make sure your consultants thank a bride when she has bought a wedding dress at your store. Sometimes consultants tend to overlook that a bride just spent a few thousand hard-earned euros. The act of acknowledgment to the bride’s tough decision will make a difference.

8)      When you make a mistake fix it. When you do something wrong, you can bet the customer remembers it. But what they’ll remember most of all is what you did to make up for the mistake (from hug your customers by Jack …).

9)      Don’t freak out over problems. When a problem occurs in your store teach your consultants to stay calm in front of the bride to find a solution. If they freak out, so will the bride and we all know a freaked-out bride is a lot worse than a regular freaked out customer.

10)   Think every day of ways to improve on the customer experience in your store. Never think that what you are doing is enough. There are always new things, new ways to make the shopping experience at your store even better.

How is the customer service at your store? Are there things you could do that could make your customer service and experience better?

Great books on customer service: Hug your customers – by Jack Michell and Delivering Happiness – by Tony Hsieh