CX Beat: The Importance of Adaptability in Retail Customer Service

Customer Service Articles

In scouring the latest retail customer service news, our team has discovered that one of the key elements in delivering a positive customer experience is adaptability. While businesses may find it easy to call themselves adaptable, with some further digging they may find that they are simply using a “one size fits all” approach when dealing with their customers. The three articles we cover today each show (in different ways) how important it is for businesses, no matter their size, to continuously adapt to their different customers in order to provide the highest level of service.

Jasper Wings & Rings Owners’ Commitment to Customer Service & Community by Dubois County Free Press

Thinking more locally, this article highlights a small franchise location that has been honored by the national corporation for its continued commitment to quality retail customer service. The franchise location’s primary business comes from repeat customers, and the owners emphasize the importance of getting to know their regulars and developing a relationship with them.

Matt’s thoughts: I really enjoyed this article because it showed that a commitment to positive customer experience is not just applicable and important on a large scale for major corporations, but also for small businesses that make up each of our neighborhoods around the world. I think it was great that the franchise owners dedicated the award for excellence in retail customer service to their staff because it showed that when management values and appreciates their staff, the return is exponentially positive. The Jasper Buffalo Wings & Rings sounds like it is operating extremely smoothly and delivering excellent customer service as their staff routinely memorizes the regular customers’ orders, knows their customers’ first names, and continues to be one of the best performing franchise locations in the country. If anything, this example shows how important it is to commit your business to pleasing the customer no matter what size the business may be.

Dawn’s thoughts: Shopping locally is very underrated by people these days.  Although the prices can sometimes be a little higher than chain stores or restaurants, I feel like the hospitality and retail customer service is unparalleled.  This article was heartwarming to read, not only because the restaurant won an award for doing the right thing (providing good service) but because it speaks to an entire culture focused on a passion for customer service.  That culture starts with the management.  Although I may be biased since we’re in the CSAT research business, I love that they’re also interested in customer feedback…the negative and positive.  Next time I’m in the area, I will definitely be visiting them!

Making Retail Work for Every Generation by  Bob Feher

In this article, Bob Feher outlines several points showing that businesses (especially retail both in-store and online) need to reevaluate their strategies in targeting specific markets. While many retailers have catered their offerings/shopping experience to millennials, they are consequently ignoring customers who belong to other generations. Feher ultimately argues that a successful retailer must develop a strategy that accommodates consumers across all generations, emphasizing the important of positive customer experience above all else.

Matt’s thoughts: While much of the focus in not only retail, but also advertising, media, healthcare, and plenty of other fields, has been on successfully targeting/catering to the millennial generation, this article presents the other side of the coin: the generations that are being left behind. Feher acknowledges the increasing use of e-commerce sites in place of traditional brick and mortar retail stores, and he breaks down the e-commerce user into different categories based on the user’s age and their level of comfort with using technology. I thought this was a great point for any e-commerce retailer to note because it showed that while they may be working tirelessly to streamline the purchasing process (something a millennial would appreciate), a good chunk of their business is coming from older users who are not as comfortable with the technology and would not want a more streamlined/fast-paced shopping experience. Ultimately, I believe that if any business is to succeed, the key to positive retail customer service is establishing a personal connection with the customer, no matter what their age may be.

Dawn’s thoughts:  I think this article has a lot of great points that make it stand out from the thousands of buzzy Millennials articles I see on a daily basis.  Consumers, regardless of their age or gender are people first and customers second, Bob gets it and shares very helpful insights.  He points out that consumers will always be loyal based on an experience and this is not dependent on age group.  The bottom line is that all retailers need to focus on providing personalized interactions to their customers if they want to provide a positive retail customer service experience and generate repeat business.

Yet Another Thing E-commerce is Killing by Maria Lamagna

In this article, Maria Lamagna outlines yet another way that the retail world is being bombarded and forced to adapt by e-commerce. She focuses primarily on store-issued credit cards and how they are used less and less often in favor of something like an Amazon credit card. Based on this article, it would appear that the influence of e-commerce is expanding beyond traditional retail and into areas like finance and consumer’s credit scores.

Matt’s thoughts: I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked when checking out at a store, “Would you like to open such and such card with us today? I have noticed that more often than not, the customer turns down the offer and chooses not to open a card with the particular store. I was not surprised to learn that more and more people are abandoning their store cards because the days of going to the local Macy’s to purchase everything you need are simply over. It is so much more convenient in our fast paced  lives to simply log on to the computer and know that your items will be waiting at your door when you arrive home later on. It will be interesting to see if stores abandon the idea of a store credit card completely, or how they adapt to deal with the e-commerce influence. One way they could possibly adapt could be to partner with online services like Amazon and offer some sort of store reward to the consumer for buying their product online. All in all, if businesses want to continue delivering positive retail customer service, they are going to have to listen to the demands of the consumer and adjust accordingly.

Dawn’s thoughts:  I admit it, I love shopping online and am fascinated by how much retailing has changed because of e-commerce.   I was enlightened by Maria’s comments that shared the benefits of having a store card. I suspect that many consumers who shop primarily online may not even know store cards exist.  I do think there is an opportunity for these businesses to focus on improving retail customer service so that the associates are actually capable of talking about the benefits of the credit card to potential customers.  You can’t necessarily influence the number of people coming into your store, but you can work on improving how you interact with them.

While these three posts highlight the need for constant adaptability when delivering exceptional retail customer service, the adaptable approach is applicable to any type of business beyond simply retail or what is covered by these examples. Through extensive time and research, we at TCFCR have learned that what customers/clients crave most in an interaction is the personal or human-to-human connection. To ensure continued success moving forward, any business must stress the importance of its employees and management remaining adaptable above all else. Constant adaptability will lead to success in all areas of the business even beyond customer service.


CX Beat is brought to you by Matt Searfoss and Dawn Kirspel of The Center For Client Retention.  They have scoured the web tirelessly for relevant articles and cat videos to share with you.  Care to join the conversation?

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