What Kind of Customer Uses a Call Button?

There are a number of pieces of technology that Alert Tech provides. One of them is fitting room call buttons.

Sometimes when I am talking with a retailer about these call buttons, they say something along the lines of, “That might work for other retailers, but our customers wouldn’t use call buttons.

So I’d like to set the record straight on the type of customer that uses a fitting room call button. In order to do so, I need to start with what goes on in the fitting room.

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Fitting Room Psychology

When shopping for clothes, customers find themselves at least half naked, which means that they feel somewhat vulnerable (this is especially true for female shoppers). This is one of the few times in their lives that they will undress in a public place. Most fitting rooms are also not pleasant, well-designed spaces. These factors combine to cause customers to want to move in and out of fitting rooms fairly quickly.

Let’s now break down the actual process of trying on clothing in a fitting room.

Shoppers will:

  1. Take their clothes off
  2. Try on the clothing they’ve brought into the fitting room
  3. Assess themselves in the mirror
  4. Decide whether they like the size(s) and color(s) they tried on
  5. If they would like other size(s) or color(s), they will now either ask an associate for those, or go and get the alternate clothing themselves

This process is actually oversimplified because it doesn’t address what happens when – as is almost always the case – a shopper has multiple items to try-on.

The Dreaded Re-Dress

When a shopper decides that they will leave the fitting room to get alternate clothing, the process of trying on clothes becomes even more arduous.

It’s a pain to change out of what they were wearing into something else. It’s even more of a pain to:

  1. Re-dress…with thoughts of…‘This is going to take longer than I hoped.’
  2. Exit the fitting room…with thoughts of…’Should I leave my coat, purse, etc. in the fitting room?’ ‘Will they be secure?’ ‘If there is a line waiting…will I get back into a fitting room fast?’ ‘What should I do with my maybe’s?’
  3. Find another size or color…with thoughts of…’Will they have my size on the rack, or will I need to hunt down someone to check stock?’ ‘Did it come in another color, or was that this skirt…arrgh!…I don’t remember!
  4. Return to the fitting room… and find that there is now a line waiting…’I don’t have TIME for this!
  5. Begin the process all over again… or not.

Much of the time, shoppers will decide that it’s not worth it and once they leave the fitting room, they’ll keep walking – right out of the store. (It happens all the time – you can probably think about the last time you did this yourself.)

The Problem with Door Knocking

door-knockIn order to keep the customer from leaving the fitting room, many retailers encourage door knocking from their sales associates. Unfortunately, door knocking as a fitting room service strategy is woefully ineffective.

“Door knocking as a fitting room service strategy is only about 2% effective.”

Why is this? It provides service to the customer at the convenience of the associate and not at the need of the customer.

Door Knocking Is Usually an Annoyance

Look back for a moment at that initial try-on process. Until they’ve moved through all the phases of the try-on, the shopper isn’t ready to interact with an associate. If they’re in the process of dressing… door knocking is annoying instead of helpful.

Until the customer is at Step 4 (deciding whether they liked the clothing they tried on), they don’t even know if they want to try another size or color. So most of the time, when an associate knocks on their door, the customer isn’t yet ready to engage.

What Happens When The Customer IS Ready for Service

HOWEVER, once they have completed the try-on and have decided they’d like a different size or color, the shopper wants to access an associate. They don’t want to stand around partially naked wondering how long it will take for someone to come back to check on them.

Unfortunately, in most cases, once a shopper is in the fitting room, it’s very difficult to for them to reach out and interact on their own terms with a sales associate.

“It’s usually easier for a shopper in a fitting room to call their friend on the other side of the globe than to get the attention of a sales associate 20 feet away!”

As more time goes by, a customer is less likely to keep waiting and more likely to re-dress and leave the store.

A call button that a customer can access from inside the fitting room solves this problem.

Call Button Psychology

A customer who values their time is likely to appreciate a call button – it puts the power in their hands to reach out to an associate exactly when they want one.

When Customers Won’t Use Call Buttons

The fitting room process described above is a fairly universal process. In my experience, there are very few shoppers who don’t find themselves working through these steps. You were likely to recognize them as steps you’ve gone through yourself.

However, there is one time when I find customers will NOT use call buttons, no matter their need.

It’s when they’re not invited to do so by sales associates!

Shoppers – especially women – are FAR more likely to use a call button when a smiling associate says something along these lines when placing a customer in the fitting room: “When you need different sizes, colors, or you’d like me to check the fit, just press this button and I’ll be right back to help!

Want to learn more about harnessing the power of retail technology?

Summary

The try-on process is not something customers generally enjoy….it’s a psychological landmine!

If their initial selections don’t work out, and they need to re-dress and leave the fitting room, there’s a 75% chance your potential customers will leave the store.

Retailers who rely on door knocking are primarily annoying their customers.

When invited to do so, almost all customers are the type who will use a call button….when they need something!

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