Increase Customer Retention

The 5 Biggest Frustrations for Fashion Shoppers

Are you driving your customers mad? If they’re running from your store in droves and not coming back, chances are you’ve got a problem. To increase customer retention, the first thing you need to uncover is why they’re leaving and not coming back.

A few weeks ago, we talked about the 3 Customer Service Elements that Create Returning Customers.  This week, we’re going to address those things that’ll send them packing. In any industry, there are many reasons why customers might leave a business. The Fashion Benchmark study from 2015/2016, sheds some light on the the top 5 biggest frustrations for fashion industry shoppers:

Increase customer retention by dealing with these hot topics!

5. Insufficient Product Knowledge

When customers ask staff questions, they would like an answer. It doesn’t have to be encyclopedic, but they’d like the information they asked for. 32% of customers reported that they found lack of knowledge in staff to be extremely annoying.

The Fix: Train staff to know their product!
Check it: by doing pop quizes or watching how your staff interact with customers.

4. Long waiting times

During the Hari Raya weekend here in Kuala Lumpur, I went shoe hunting. The Raya sales are too good to miss out – a little bit like Boxing Day sales in Australia, or Black Friday in the US. I found a pair of shoes I liked, but it took a customer service staff member twenty minutes to help me. By that time, I was fed up and ready to walk out.

Customers don’t like to be left hanging. As we discovered, responsiveness is everything. As a general rule, customers are happy to wait no more than 2 minutes before staff at the very least greets them!

The Fix: Train staff to greet customers promptly, and with a smile!
Check it: by getting store managers to keep an eye (and ear) out for staff greetings!

3. Pushy Staff

Have you ever gone into a store to browse or buy products or services and been confronted with a staff member obsessed with making a sale? So obsessed in fact that they push and push you to make the purchase? These staff members are a little like telemarketers, calling you at inopportune hours and not leaving you alone to catch your breath, let alone make a choice.

Bottom line? Customers do not want to be bullied into making a sale; increase customer retention by making that absolutely clear to your customer service staff.

The Fix: Teach staff to close a customer, not a sale. The sale will follow naturally.
Check it: by seeing how your staff approaches and deal with customers.

2. Product not in stock

Remember that pair of shoes I found last weekend? The reason why I needed a member of the staff was that they weren’t in my size. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any left. Frustrating, though, in this case, understandable – one of the biggest sales weekends of the year will do go through stock faster than normal but you get the idea: it’s annoying.

The Fix: This one is really for the logistics department, but on the whole, it’s how staff handle customer disappointment. Set up a system where the customer might receive an email or a text message when the item is in stock again, or offer to order it in for them.

Check it: Pay attention to how your staff manage customer expectations and disappointment.

1. Unfriendly and/or inattentive staff

This is the big one. Hands-down the number 1 frustration in the fashion – and indeed, any – industry is customer service staff that doesn’t do their job. Staff need to be approachable and friendly, able to deal with customer complaints quickly and smoothly. They need to be interested in what they’re doing. Are they more interested in chatting with their coworkers, or playing Candy Crush? How are they treating you customers? If your business is going to increase customer retention this is the first thing you need to look at.

The Fix: Hire friendly staff, encourage them to be friendly and approachable, train them in techniques to deal with customers the way you would like them to.
Check it: Hire a mystery shopping company to really put this to the test, you can’t afford to take half measures with this one!

Ready to increase customer retention rates in your business? Addressing these 5 frustrations will get you started. Read more about what makes customer in the fashion industry tick in the Fashion Benchmark Study: