Fashion Merchandising: 5 Tips For Providing Customer Service
September 19, 2013
•Fashion Design and Merchandising, IADT General
• 0 Comments
At every level of business, customer service is important.
Professionals must be able to work well with customers. Working through conflicts and dealing with problems in an effective manner is essential for building loyalty. Fashion merchandisers must know how to talk to their customers and help them so that they continue to have a good experience with your company.
Discover these five tips for providing quality customer service, no matter the situation.
1. Be Empathetic
Empathy can go a long way with customers – especially if they are angry or frustrated.
Everyone knows what it’s like to get bad service. No matter what the context might be, you know that it’s frustrating. It also has the potential to deter a customer from ever working with your company again.
In fashion, customer loyalty is incredibly important. Many stores sell similar products and one way you can stand out is by providing quality customer service. Start by being empathetic. Arnold Anderson, a Demand Media reporter for The Houston Chronicle says, “Listen to what the customer has to say and then let him know that you understand his situation. Empathize with the customer by telling him how you would feel if you were in his situation.”
As a merchandiser, or even a salesperson, it is important for professionals to make their customers to feel that they are on their side.
2. Be Honest
It is important that you tell your customer the truth at all times. Do not make them false promises or say anything you don’t mean (or don’t know is true).
Merchandisers should let customers know what they are authorized to do to help in any given situation. Anderson says, “if the situation gets beyond your authority then let the customer know that you need to transfer to a manager”
Remember that ultimately lying to the customer makes you look bad. You might even get in a lot of trouble for making false promises and misleading the customer.
3. Be Responsible
A merchandiser can provide good customer service simply by taking responsibility for the company and for the service provided. In her etiquette column for the New Sentinel, Karen Hickman advises business professionals to anticipate customer needs.
She says, “Be willing to do more than your defined job. Help others. Make yourself an asset to your organization.”
Hickman notes that 96 percent of unhappy customers won’t tell you that they’re unhappy with the service they’ve been provided or with the company in general. By anticipating their needs, merchandisers can not only prevent unhappiness, but they can also address unhappiness as well.
Start simply by being nice when interacting with customers and coworkers.
4. Be Professional
Professionalism is important for interacting with customers. It might seem difficult to maintain a professional demeanor when customers are yelling at you or blaming you for something that is beyond your control.
Merchandisers must stand by their decisions, their coworkers and their company policies. It is easy to blame other coworkers for the problem (and some customers might even want you to reprimand coworkers for their poor work). But you should never do this in front of other customers. Hickman advises, “Never criticize fellow workers or complain in front of a customer.”
If a customer thinks you dislike your company and are dissatisfied as an employee, they might change their personal opinion of the company.
Like all important skills, good customer service is something that you need to practice.
Manufacturing business professional Lois Ryan notes that one way to practice is to “create different scenarios in where new employees interact with the customers.” Role-playing can help you practice your customer service techniques, discover your weak points and see how you work under pressure.
Ryan recommends creating scenarios where you have to practice:
- Listening effectively
- Dealing with an aggressive disrespectful customer
- Dealing with a situation you cannot handle and how to refer a customer to a manager or another employee
Learn more about how customer service can impact fashion merchandising at IADT.