Moments of Connectivity


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In customer experience management we often talk about Moments of Truth. ‘Moments of Truth’ was coined by Jan Carlzon, who managed the Scandinavian SAS Airlines. He uses the term to mean those moments in which important brand impressions are formed and where there is significant opportunity for good or bad impressions to be made.

In retail, Moments of Truth occur in key interactions:

* On the phone
* When a customer enters the store
* When he/she is engaged by an employee
* At check-out
* Leaving the store
* Follow-up cards, emails, newsletters.

Together, along with store’s products and environment, these moments add up to the customer’s experience.

At the staff level in specialty stores we can drill it down another level to what I call Moments of Connectivity. Those happen by taking advantage of key interactions to connect with the customer in a meaningful way. A meaningful connection is one that develops trust, demonstrates a commitment to the customer, and leads to more meaningful and enjoyable experience.

Many of these key interactions overlap with the Moments of Truth, but there are also some additional engagement points that are vital to the Moments of Connectivity.

I believe three of the most important Moments of Connectivity are as follows:

1. First engagement. Sadly, many stores short-circuit right here by ignoring customers or opening with a “how may I help you.” Fall short here and it’s much more difficult to create connectivity later on.

The goal at this point is to:
* Demonstrate your priority to customer service/experience.
* Let your customer know you’re glad he/she came into your store.
* Create a welcoming environment.

2. The transition from welcoming the customer to developing the relationship. Many customers want to be left alone, and that’s fine. But more often than not, the customer wants to be left alone because of the quality of the first engagement. We control this more than we know.

At this connection we want to learn about our customer and the reason for his/her visit. There’s a reason a customer comes into our store. Notice the word “reason,” not “need.” Too often we disconnect from the customer if they don’t state a need.

Remember this: It’s all about the customer, and their connection to our store, our products and the reason for the visit! Our questions and comments should be leading us to establish that connection.

Great sales associates don’t small talk; they establish a relationship through meaningful conversation. They engage with purpose. They show sincere interest in their customer without making it about themselves. There may be the rare customer who is indeed interested in your foot surgery from five years ago, but it’s safe to say that talking about yourself keeps you from establishing the connection with the visit.

3. Showing or recommending the product. The most successful sales associates establish a very strong connection here. They continue to learn more about their customer in relation to the products. They aren’t shy with their professional opinion, but at the same time they never forget that the goal is to help the customer purchase the right products for them. It doesn’t matter what the sales associate likes.

If an associate hasn’t connected with the customer before this, the chance of truly connecting while showing the products is low. It’s usually why these associates have a below average conversation rate.

I’ve seen a number of people who establish a number of wonderful connections with the customer and then disconnect when showing/recommending products. I’d have to guess there are two reasons.

They either didn’t learn enough about the customer before showing/recommending products, or they have unresolved issues about being in retail sales. Don’t underestimate that second one.

So let me ask, how are you doing in Moments of Connectivity with your customers? Are you connecting in a way that enables you to win the customer and maximize the opportunity?

Forget customer service, it’s all about the connection and experience!

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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