How VIP service can save our High Street

How VIP service can save our High Street

If you took a moment to think about the High Street retailers that provide the very best customer service, which ones would top your list?

In recent years, online retailers have not only beaten their bricks-and-mortar counterparts in sales, but in customer service.  A 2016 Institute of Customer Service poll revealed that when it came to delighting customers, the UK leader wasn’t the previously reliable John Lewis or M&S, but Amazon.

The basic principles of excellent customer service – efficiency, politeness and staff competence – are clear.  Amazon are famously “customer-obsessed”, consistently ensuring super-fast delivery, free returns and rapid communication.

What is also starting to become clear is that High Street retailers must go above and beyond these basic principles.  In order to survive in an ever- challenging marketplace, physical stores need to offer their customers a level of service that simply cannot be matched online.

What is VIP Service?

Luxury retailers are well-known to treat their customers as though each and every one is a recognised VIP.

When you walk into a Gucci or Louis Vuitton store, for example, the ambience is polished and relaxed.  You will likely be handed a glass of Champagne by an immaculately dressed assistant, who will proceed to take care of your every need.  Regular customers will be welcomed by name, immediately ensuring that they are made to feel special.

However, offering a VIP-worthy customer experience shouldn’t be confined to luxury retailers.  Every business has the ability to make their customers feel special, and because they deal with people face-to-face, High Street retailers can enjoy a distinct advantage over their online competitors when it comes to VIP Service.

A VIP retail experience

VIP Service begins with supreme attention to detail, closely followed by product knowledge and staff attitude.  Customers are known to linger for longer and spend more money in a pleasant, unhurried space staffed by friendly, knowledgeable people who provide personalised advice.

The ‘personal shopper’ experience offered by stores such as John Lewis and Debenhams is a good example.  Trained staff will assist with outfit choices, making additional recommendations based on the customer’s individual style preferences and body type.

While many High Street retailers will not have the resources needed to welcome every customer by name, greeting everybody who enters the store with a genuine smile can go a long way.  Exclusive incentive schemes, such as offering a birthday discount to regular customers, will help people feel as though their loyalty is valued.

Meanwhile, employing intuitive staff who are ready and willing to go that extra mile can be just the excuse a customer needs to leave the comfort of their laptop and take a trip out to the High Street instead.

After all, while Amazon can respond to queries in a rapid time frame, nothing will ever replace a physical shopping experience in which a customer is made to feel truly welcome, appreciated and unique.

That, in essence, is the benefit of VIP Service.

Can we help you?  At Rickard Luckin, our friendly and specialist team of advisers work alongside you, helping to ensure your business can reach its full potential.  To find out more, or to arrange a no-obligation chat, simply contact us.

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Terri Smith

Director

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