Delivering a great experience with customer knowledge


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The more you know about your customer, the easier it is to deliver a great experience and create a sale. There are three levels of knowledge you can obtain in every customer interaction.

The first level of knowledge is surface information. These are the basic things you learn about your customer at the start of her experience. You learn how her day is going, why she’s out shopping, what she thinks about the weather, if she’s been to your store before, etc.

While surface information is important in building a relationship with the customer, it is of little use in creating a sale. Good specialty retail salespeople understand that it’s vital to go to the next level if and when the customer is ready.

The second level of knowledge is customer specific. At this level you begin to know who your customer is as you learn particular information about him/her. You might learn his name, when he last shopped at the store, what products he owns or has bought at your store, the motivation for coming in today, etc.

Knowing these things enables you to personalize your customer’s experience, show and recommend specific products he/she may choose to purchase, and definitely meet and hopefully exceed the customer’s expectations.

How do you gain this knowledge? Easily, by asking open-ended questions when connecting with your customer and when you’re transitioning to talk about the products.

Here’s a simple test to determine if you’re reached level two. If you were called away in the middle of working with a customer, could you easily introduce her to a colleague, mentioning two or three things about her that would enable your colleague to easily continue to serve the customer as well as you had been.

For example, “Bob, this is Sandy. Sandy is a first time customer and is considering purchasing the blue widget I recommended for her friend Mary’s fortieth birthday. She’s also thinking about treating herself to a green one.”

The third and deepest level of knowledge is understanding your customer. At this point you understand why your customer would choose a green widget over a blue one. You know why the customer would never buy the ABC brand widget over the XYZ brand. You might also know where and when the customer will first use the widget.

Getting to level three is much easier than people know. It is as simple as asking the customer what and why questions after he/she makes a comment and/or when you’re showing the product.

“So why would choose the green one for yourself over the blue?”

“Why would you not buy XYZ?”

“What do you like or dislike about this widget?”

When you’ve reached level three you have created a level of trust and connectivity that elevates your customer’s experience from ordinary to distinct and memorable. You’re also able to make more specific recommendations, find new products that he/she would never have even considered, and WOW him/her throughout his/her experience..

Not only do you positively win the customer at level three, but you’ll also maximize your opportunity and create dramatically higher sales just by taking the time to make it through all three levels of customer knowledge.

So let me ask, at what level do you normally operate? Are you at the surface, specifics, or do you make it to understanding your customer?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Fleener
As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent retailer himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to help companies of all sizes. Doug is a retail and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and a recognized expert worldwide.


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