Retail

Create a Positive Customer Experience

Make sure your customers’ experiences are functional, accessible, and emotional to cultivate a positive experience.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Taylor Walston

According to CustomerThink, all customer experiences should be three things: functional, accessible and emotional. How well you address these components determines whether the experience is positive or negative. To successfully cover all three components, you should:

1. Meet your customers’ wants and needs.
2. Make it easy for your customers to achieve those wants and needs.
3. Develop an emotional connection with the customer.

Meeting these needs will create a great customer relationship for the long run. Let’s look at how to address these three components to help achieve that positive customer journey.

Have your customers' needs been met? Photo Credit: ATA

Functional

Have the customers’ wants and needs been met?

After interactions with your customers, ask yourself if they are walking away with their goal achieved. Did they receive the product they were looking for? Did they receive the appropriate information? If there is any doubt, then the experience was not functional.

Businesses can measure functionality by surveying customers. Here are some examples of survey questions:

– What instructional classes would you like to see offered at our range?
– What special programs would you like to see offered at our range?
– Were you able to find the products you needed?
– Did our sales associates help you find what you were looking for?
– Are there any products you feel that we are lacking?

Post them at your checkout counter, website and social media pages. Invite customers to let you know what they’re looking for. They might alert you to a need that you didn’t know existed. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know it exists, so make sure you are fully transparent with your customers.

Was it easy for the customer to get what they needed? Photo Credit: ATA

Accessible

How easy was the entire experience?

Once you’ve discovered if the customers’ needs are being met, determine whether they had an easy experience. In other words, what journey did the customer take to get to the end result? If the customer receives their desired equipment or service, but they had to jump through multiple hoops to get there, the experience accessibility needs work. You can analyze your accessibility by prioritizing commonly requested items. High-priority items should go directly on your store’s website.

If customers are asking for an easier way to book range time, include a link to a user-friendly booking system on your home page. If you can’t offer an online booking system, make it clear on your website that customers can easily book time over the phone. If you offer booking by phone, be diligent about answering calls, and complete the booking process in a timely manner. Don’t force the customer to play phone tag with you. If they can’t achieve their needs through your website or reach you by phone, this is a deterrent.

Did the customer walk away with a positive experience? Photo Credit: ATA

Emotional

How did the experience make them feel?

Above functionality and accessibility, customer experiences should make them feel something. If the customer feels you did the bare minimum to help them and they were just another number, the experience was not emotional. Unemotional experiences equate to one-time customers.

Customers should walk away knowing you went above and beyond to meet their needs. Going above and beyond doesn’t have to mean large discounts and giveaways. It can be as simple as giving your customer a chance to express their feelings and be heard. You want them to return to your shop knowing they can trust you. If you’re helping a customer pick out their first bow, talk to them about lessons. If you sense that they’re a bargain shopper, don’t push the high-ticket items on them. Respect their shopping habits and steer them toward items in their budget. They’ll forever remember that you weren’t a pushy salesperson and that you listened to what they were telling you. Reflect on your own experiences as a customer; think about what you like and dislike in a shopping experience.

 

How to Handle Negative Reviews

After the customer leaves your store, they might take to social media and give a review of your shop. Different than survey responses, these reviews will likely highlight a particularly pleasant or unpleasant experience the customer had at your store. Responding to negative reviews is just as important as responding to positive ones.

Branding and marketing firm Vendasta suggests these four steps for addressing negative reviews:

1. Apologize to and sympathize with the customer.
2. Take time to explain what your customers usually experience.
3. Move the conversation offline and ask them to contact you privately.
4. Keep the response simple, short and sweet.

The ATA’s Resource Website includes documents to help you with customer relationships, such as “Responding to Customer Reviews.” This guide will walk you through the importance of receiving customer reviews and responding to them appropriately. Responding to negative reviews respectfully will give your business an added boost of credibility, as it shows you are willing to learn from mistakes and you respect feedback.

 

Other ATA Resources

Your ATA membership provides access to the MyATA Learning Center, which hosts a library of educational videos to help your business succeed. You can find videos such as: Building an Archery Academy, What’s Working in Your Pro Shop, and Lessons in Brand Reinvention. Log in with your credentials to view the courses and learn how your business and customers can work together.

The ideal customer experience should be functional, accessible and emotional. Listen to your customers and make sure your shop has what they need, it’s easy for them to get it, and they walk away with a positive opinion of your shop. If you nail these three components, you’ll be well on your way to creating repeat customers.

Questions about customer relationships? Contact Kurt Smith, director of industry relations, at (866) 266-2776 ext 117 or kurtsmith@archerytrade.org.

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