How Retail Associates Can Focus on Metrics and Win Big

How motivated and engaged are your associates? If a customer walks into a random store, what are the chances they will receive excellent customer service? Will they walk away having had a positive personal experience with your brand?

How do you begin to benchmark the quality of service, and what can you do to improve?

If you identify and focus on improving customer service metrics, you’ll improve not just your revenues, but the motivation and satisfaction of your associates. Here’s how both you and your store staff can win big.

It’s Crucial to Set Clear Expectations

A 2015 Gallup poll showed that only about half of employees strongly agree that they know what’s expected of them at work. This is a problem for a couple of reasons. Obviously, employees can only do the job expected of them if their role is clearly defined. But clear expectations are also a strong indicator of employee engagement and satisfaction. And it’s especially important to have high engagement when you’re talking about associates, since these are the people who represent face of your brand.

tiesIf you want your associates to offer excellent customer service, you need to quantify what that means. Clear goals allow you to set performance standards, and let both associates and management know whether staff are meeting those standards.

Associates should definitely have sales targets. But not all employees will be strongly motivated by income, which is one reason it’s important to include some goals that are non-monetary. Metrics other than sales numbers are also of importance on slow traffic days, as staff can still achieve customer service targets even when there are fewer shoppers available.

How to Quantify Good Customer Service

Sales volumes are easily quantifiable, but how can you put a number on good customer service? Yes, great service will lead to increased sales, but not every well-served customer will make a purchase on a given shopping trip. The key is to focus on smaller behavioral markers that indicate a job well done – for example, greeting each customer who enters the store.

Many of these behaviors are difficult to quantify, and some service markers are more indicative than others when it comes to predicting eventual sales. But you do need data to look at in order to compare performance over time, and between stores. The question is, what metrics should you use?

What gets measured, gets managed.”
~Peter Drucker

For apparel retailers, a crucial part of the store is the fitting room. Your staff need to understand that customers are dramatically more likely to make a purchase if they’ve used the fitting room, and they’re liable to make a larger purchase after receiving personalized service in the fitting room.

The following benchmarks will reveal how well associates are doing in this key area.

Key Retail Metrics

Here are four key metrics that you can use to judge the health of the fitting rooms – and ultimately the store – with remarkable accuracy:

  • fitting room visits (as a percent of door traffic)
  • average length of visits
  • calls for assistance (as a percent of fitting room traffic)
  • length of time to respond to those calls

You can record all of these data points with simple fitting room technology. With ready access to this data, associates can focus on increasing visits and service calls, and decreasing call response times. Both your store and your associates can win big.

Data-Related Benefits

The biggest benefit to you and your associates is increase sales volume. Excellent customer service leads to happier customers and satisfied customers open their wallets. But there are additional benefits to providing metrics to your associates and management team.

When you provide sales associates direct access to this data, you engage the very human need to feel a sense of mastery. Associates feel empowered versus micromanaged when they have numbers that they can easily access and control.

And, if the numbers show that most of your staff is having difficulty providing the level of service you expect, this indicates a need for more training – or improved staffing levels.

The Bottom Line

Retail metrics can be a benefit to employees and management. If you take advantage of modern retail technology, you can use data to motivate and empower staff and provide the best service for your customers. Start with a system to collect and consume this data, and help your associates and your stores to make big wins.

Retail Analytics: How to Collect Data for Your Retail Operation, and What to Do With It

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