The second lockdown has been very much been a very different experience from the first national lockdown in the spring. We have heard the term, “new normal” countless times and perhaps now it is just normal. In the summer, the Irish government confirmed that mask wearing in store environments was needed to help fight the spread of Covid 19.
We here at TellUsFirst™ are looking at how staff can engage with customers using the “new smile”. How can your staff members engage with customers like before and influence the customer experience positively while wearing a face covering?
Service with a smile may not be physically possible if staff are wearing face coverings, but why should the service suffer, or the customer experience journey be negatively impacted. The concept can still be very much accomplished.
When sales assistants are ending a transaction, they should thank customers for visiting them today and wish them a good day or if it is a food or drinks service, tell customers to enjoy. It is important that you show your customers that you value them and verbally interacting with them will allow for customers to feel appreciated.
Encourage front line staff to use tone and expression. If you have a negative experience with a customer, take a breath and greet your next customer with a clean slate. Remember the importance of tone and make each customer that you greet feel like they are the only customer that you are serving today.
When engaging with customers, use your hands. Make sure to point to displays and be as animated as you can while remaining as natural and human as possible. Remember that actions speak louder than words, so assist customers as best you can and offer advice and suggestions.
You may not be able to smile at customers but maintaining eye contact and using facial expressions will show the customer that you are engaging and make them feel valued. In any situation in life, eye contact shows respect and making a customer feel respected in a safe setting will encourage them to return.
In circumstances where a staff member normally would have physically greeted customers at an entrance, consider asking staff to wave making customers feel welcome but in a safe and socially distant manner.
For sales assistants, ensure that staff ask “have you found everything?” or “is there anything else I can get for you?”. This small check will make customers feel that staff are willing to go that extra step.
If staff are stocking shelves, it is now more important than ever to encourage staff to greet customers from a distance. Customers will feel valued if staff take the time to stop what they are doing and acknowledge them.
The thing to remember when maintaining a great customer journey is the only thing that has changed is masks. Creating and nourishing customer connections is still the same. For more information about building a great customer journey in the Covid age and how we can help you assess your customer journey please contact us.