5 Retail Skills Your Team Must Know

When you hire a new employee (which I like to refer to as a team member), you quickly get to work training that person so they are ready to take on the tasks you’ve assigned to their role, right?

But training a new hire is time consuming, and in the hurry to get them trained on your procedures, the POS system, sales, products etc. you might overlook one important area: Customer Interactions.  

You have worked hard to create great relationships with your raving fans, but those relationships can be easily damaged by poor customer interactions from your team.

And you don’t want to lose any business because of it!
There are 5 specific skills that they must be trained on to make sure that they represent your store in the best way:

#1: Knowing the answer to a question

Nothing damages trust more than when you know someone isn’t being honest. Everyone has had the experience of asking a salesperson a question and you can just tell that they don’t really know what they are talking about.

Train your team that they don’t have to know everything. They will never get in trouble for not knowing an answer. Instead, they MUST be honest and say, “I don’t know but let me find out for you.”

Those words are golden. Those words keep your customer’s faith in you strong.

#2: How to handle a line of customers at the register

The worst thing (and the most natural response) when you have a line up waiting by the register, is to get nervous and anxious, but that only makes those in line anxious and mistakes happen. 

Train your team that a line is nothing more than a party! It is a sign that they all came to your store for fun and gifts. That’s true, right? So tell your team to act like a host.

They should talk to them all. If they know customers in the line well enough, they can even introduce them to each other and mention things that they have in common. Train your team to keep smiling and saying that they appreciate everyone’s business and say, “I am so glad you’re here and I will be right with you.”

#3: How to handle chatty customers

You know exactly what I mean. That wonderful customer who has so much to share with you… and you have so much to do… and there is a line at the counter. 

You don’t want to hurt any feelings but you have to get back to work! Train your team to look into their eyes, smile and say, “I would so love to talk to you more about this – but I see someone else who needs my help too. I will check back in with you, ok?  Thanks for being here.”

#4 How to not miss ringing up items at the register

At the end of every sale, train your team to look at the number of items rung up on the POS and to compare it to the number of items in front of them.

This works best with a partner – One is ringing and the other is bagging and counting, but should also be a trained habit when a team member is working the register alone. 

I used this trick in my own stores, it saved me (or should I say made me!) so much money!

#5 How to politely ask a question of a team member when they are talking to a customer

There are two steps to this skill:

  1. Step one is to get the team member’s attention. There are two ways to do this:  
    • Stand behind the customer and catch the team member’s eye, or…
    • Have a secret sign that you will touch the team member’s elbow.
  1. Step two is to say “Excuse me. I am sorry to interrupt you. May I ask you a quick question?”

When your team has these skills down, they will always make you and your store look good to customers. These skills are important in maintaining the wonderful relationships that you have made with your raving fans. Wonderful relationships always lead to more sales!

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