Oliver Tookman is the owner of menswear independent Robert Goddard, which has three stores in Cambridgeshire.
Any premium retailer who is not aware and proactively focused on being truly outstanding is not only living in the past but also putting their present and future success in jeopardy.
When competing with ‘in and out’ shopping on the high street, it is the outstanding service and salesmanship of premier retailers that maintains and develops customer loyalty and makes shopping something to enjoy.
Quite simply, outstanding service and salesmanship is dependent on outstanding people. People who are encouraged, enabled and empowered as professional retailers. People who have confidence in the products and collections they are presenting. People with a passion for their store and what it represents. However, it also means employers have to be outstanding, too.
Through a planned programme of customer service and product training, sales professionals are more informed, supported and have direction - all of which combines into excellent customer service and enhanced sale opportunities. Retail teams and individuals are more able to perform consistently well, and this has a direct impact financially. Outstanding front-of-house staff need the latest product knowledge, visits to manufacturers when possible and ongoing training so they can not only sell effectively, but also create enduring customer relationships.
Good sales teams are made up of individuals who are passionate, prepared to keep learning, and who have a genuine desire to engage with every person who walks in.
Internal communication on a regular basis also keeps everyone informed about what is happening in-house and beyond. It is a highly beneficial, cost-effective way to ‘top up’ knowledge or report industry developments. It also maintains a team’s focus on objectives, and to recognising achievement by individuals and teams. The result is customer service that is consistent and committed.
Outstanding service and salesmanship doesn’t happen by accident. It is a measure of in-house commitment to training and encouraging staff to become outstanding - and then giving them every opportunity to show how great customer service can be.