I understand the machinations, but have failed to accustom myself to the new retail moniker "guest," as when I am in line, and the cashier says, "next guest please." I am not a guest. My guests do not stand in line. The retail experience and expectation is not improved by what is said. The retail experience and expectation is transformed when better service is provided.
People need to sit down. Retailers who do not provide chairs and benches risk loosing and alienating customers. Retailers’ floors are crowded, packages are heavy, and floors are hard– especially for women in heels. Guests are always invited to make themselves comfortable upon entering someone’s home. Customers are not cattle. Invite your customers to have a seat and offer them a glass of water, and they will remember who treated them so nicely.
People need and want assistance, but people are reluctant to ask for help. Walking into a store is like walking into a party where you don’t really know anyone. So retailers need to approach their customers, smile and say, "Thank you for coming, how can I help you?" Way back when, more than 100 years ago, many department stores had pages to personally escort ladies to their destination in the store and even carry their bags. It was simply a nice way to help customers. That was service. Can you imagine receiving that level of service today?
People need a second opinion; people need advice and suggestions. People watch makeover shows. Instead of having sales people, hire stylists to assist customers. Older people with good taste, students in fashion school, people who love shopping. Have them strategically stationed to help customers find the right size, offer options for add-ons like "would you like to see some belts for that pair of pants" or "do you think you’d like some matching hosiery for that new skirt" and "we just got in tops that would be perfect for that, can I show you?"
Customers are people. People shop. Some doctors treat patients, the best doctors treat people– not patients. The best retailers sell to people, not customers.
–Ron Knoth, Guest Blogger