opinion

2 Practices Retail Sales Associates Can Use to Cultivate Customer Loyalty

2 Practices Retail Sales Associates Can Use to Cultivate Customer Loyalty

As retailers, we are all trying to create the ultimate customer service experience in the hopes that it brings in more returning customers. How do we create this kind of exceptional experience that leads to people coming back? We started Cupid’s Closet eight years ago with deep passion for creating outstanding customer service experiences. Giving customers an experience like this goes beyond just being friendly or smiling. It has to go much deeper than that. To me, outstanding customer service is not something you can fake. It has to come from a place of wanting to make real and deeper connections with people and offering them a unique and catered learning experience. I have noticed through my many years of sales experience that using these practices has led to happy repeat customers.

While working in an adult store has its many upsides, the one downside it may present is that it may create a barrier with some customers that other retail environments may not have experience with. This is because our society inherently teaches us that sex, and anything relating to sex, is perverse and something to be ashamed of. When a customer walks in, after greeting them, you can tell almost immediately whether or not that customer is comfortable around sex and engaging in conversation about it. It is extremely important to make it a space for every type of person who walks in to exist in their own truth. No matter if that person is a sex worker, a kinkster, someone trying to spice things up, or someone who has never been to an adult store and may be uncomfortable in the space. If someone is uncomfortable being in an adult store and isn’t interested in talking as much, it doesn’t mean you still cannot connect with them. In my experience the best way to make space and connect with many types of people is through the use of empathy.

One of the best parts about working in an adult shop is the opportunity it gives sales associates to help people on a deeper level.

Empathy is extremely important to practice when engaging with customers because the better you can understand someone, the better you can support and connect with them. Some things to think of when engaging with a customer is to look at their nonverbal cues like body language, voice and tone, and keep in consideration what might have motivated them to approach you, what is at stake for them and how they are feeling. Learning how to become more empathetic with customers is not one of those things that you will be an expert at overnight. It takes a lot of practice and is something I try to improve on every day. But utilizing this tool will help improve relationships with customers and will help them feel comfortable at your business. Places where customers can feel welcomed and accepted are places they will return to.

One of the best parts about working in an adult shop is the opportunity it gives sales associates to help people on a deeper level. Because of this, when engaging with each customer, I try to leave them with either an outside resource or offer them a little more knowledge about something they are interested in. This is so beneficial because this is something so simple that goes such a long way with customers. This can be anything from giving someone a new idea on how to use a product, experience intimacy, or giving them resources for them to look into to further their sexual experiences. Not only does this establish you or your associate as an industry expert but it also shows that you genuinely care about the customer and not just their money. This also shows the customer that you have thought about what might benefit them and provided them with a catered experience that goes beyond what other businesses do. For retailers, this means it is crucial to have a well-educated staff and to make sure they are constantly learning not only about products but sexuality and other resources connected to products. If you have a staff that is constantly learning and trying every day to become better associates, you will see an increase in customer loyalty.

My many years in retail have taught me so much about how to engage with customers in order to give them the best customer service possible. Customer service is a life-long learning experience that I truly enjoy being a part of. Through my experiences I have noticed a direct correlation with using these two practices and repeat happy customers. These practices have helped me become more empathetic to customers and create deeper relationships with them. In addition to practicing empathy, offering customers resources gives them a one-of-a-kind experience that they cannot get from other retailers or online stores. I am confident implementing these practices in your workplace will help show your customers that you and your associates are experts in this industry, and prove to them that you truly care about their well-being over their money.

Brittany Greenberg is the co-founder of Cupid's Closet, a retail store that was created to give individuals a space to embrace our own, as well as others’, sexuality without judgment or embarrassment.

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