The Customer Experience: Climbing the Customer Service Pyramid

In a recent presentation to FTD Florists called “The Customer Experience: Climbing the Customer Service Pyramid,” retail expert, author, speaker, training coach, and co-founder of WhizBang! Retail Training Bob Negen shared his best tips for success. During part one of a two-part series, Bob draws from decades of industry experience. He intertwined personal anecdotes, emphasizing his Gold Star Game Plan that prioritizes customer service to help individual business owners improve and grow their business. Discover how his insights can help your shop stand out amongst the competition in the floral industry.

Love Your Customers and the Money Will Follow

There’s a lot more to creating a positive customer experience than simply employing friendly staff within your store. You need to deliver the best possible experience that makes your shop stand out as the number one store customers want to use for all their floral needs. Individual retailers lose 15% of their customer base every year, of which 82% of those customers leave based on bad customer service experiences. That’s why the most effective way to grow your business is to maintain a loyal, consistent customer base through lifelong relationship building. By stopping even 5% of your customer base from leaving for competing retailers, your profits can increase as much as 25-95%, as loyal customers continue to purchase from you.

What Would My Customers Want?

Bob describes creating a positive customer service experience with this simple question in mind: “What would my customers want?” He presents this customer driven approach in a pyramid format, with the most important components of the pyramid inhabiting the larger foundations of the pyramid, gradually ascending upwards. Keeping “WWMCW” in mind for each category of the Customer Service Pyramid will ensure positive customer service experiences that will pay off in lifelong customer loyalty.


  • Philosophy: Think of how you feel when you shop. What kinds of things make you feel good and want to shop at a given business? Keep those customer focused ideas at the forefront of your business philosophy.


  • Policies: Your store policies are a direct reflection of your philosophy. Every aspect of your store should be welcoming to customers, so they feel good about shopping there. When people feel relaxed and valued as a customer, it makes them want to keep coming back. Here are some of the most important policies to keep in mind:


  • Store Hours: Make shopping easy for your customers. While online shopping is always an option, many people desire an in-person shopping experience. If your store has limited or inconvenient hours, customers will shop somewhere that is Consider being open on weekends or later weekday hours after people are home from work. If your shop is open when others aren’t, customers are going to remember the convenience and ease of shopping there.


  • Payment Methods: Offer customers a variety of ways to pay: cash, check, charge or app. About 65% of customers won’t return to a business if they can’t pay the way they want, especially if there’s an additional fee. A credit card charge fee is the price of doing business; don’t make your customers pay for that.


  • Return Policies: Incorporating a fair return or exchange policy makes customers feel valued and trusted, and those are the customers that will want to continue to do business with you. If you have a “No Return” policy or “All Sales are Final,” you’re sending the message that you don’t really stand behind your product or care about customer satisfaction.


  • General Attitude of Store: Make your store is a friendly, aesthetically pleasing place that people want to come into. It’s more than simply keeping it clean and organized, but welcoming customers inside. Don’t scare people away with signs such as “Bathrooms for customers only,” or “We don’t have any change,” or other ways to keep people from coming in. Bob emphasizes, “Never let an incident create an unfriendly policy that punishes the many for the bad behavior of the few.” If you want to sell your product, you must welcome all potential customers into the store.


  • Handling Complaints: In any business, there are going to be customer complaints. It’s important to not be defensive and make the customer feel like they are part of the team and solution. Thank them for bringing the issue to your attention and ask them what they would like you to do to resolve it. When customers feel heard and valued, they’ll be more likely to want to work with you in the future.


  • Staff: Your team is a direct connection to your customers, which is why it’s important to create a training program that clearly communicates your standards and philosophies to your team, so customers receive a consistent experience. Bob emphasizes the importance of hiring staff members with a great attitude. Product knowledge and selling skills can be taught, but attitude is everything. Bob suggests setting up secret shoppers to offer feedback on your store’s customer service.


  • Store: Your customer experience begins the moment customers enter your parking lot. Ensure your windows are clean, the store is organized, and the store is set up for an easy shopping experience.


  • Wow: The cherry on top of the Customer Service Pyramid is the “Wow,” or that little extra way to stand out to your customers. Reward your best customers with a bouquet or personal video email to thank them for their loyalty. They’ll be touched that you value their patronage, and that personalized acknowledgment will ensure continued customer loyalty.

If you’re interested in viewing the full webinar, The Customer Experience: Climbing the Customer Service Pyramid, you can view it on-demand on the FTD Mercury Network YouTube channel here.


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