Is it long lines at the check out? Or, maybe it’s being ignored when they walk through the door.  Or, do you think that it’s rude staff that customer’s dislike the most?

Here’s the quick answer.  Customers dislike ANYTHING that detracts from a pleasant shopping experience. They can turn from happy customer into furious creatures right before your very eyes!

Getting a shopper’s back up can start way before they even enter the store.  While they may love your products, they may have no tolerance for your latest ad campaign.

They may love that you have such a big store, but they hate that there is never any parking. They may have agreed to a frequent buyer program, but they may be growing intolerant of your far too frequent emails.

And, this is all before they’ve even set foot in the store. Get the picture?

Creating an enjoyable, or at least irritant free shopping experience takes some doing.  And, it requires some dialogue with your customers and listening to their feedback, complaints and possible solutions.

If you are wise to those things that customers complain about most often, and choose to do something about them, then, you’re probably ahead of most when it comes to delivering customer satisfaction.

Here’s a list of many of the popular customer complaints:

  1. Parking. Difficulty finding a parking space. This is high on the list of drivers who frequent perpetually busy shopping malls, those pressed for time, those just running in for one or two things, those with children or those who have some sort of physical challenge. Even in the larger lots where they can find a park, customers complain about having to walk too far or not being able to find their car when they go to leave.
    The other side of this coin is lack of transportation to your store or shopping mall. Many don’t drive and when there is scant bus or train service, this angers many who might otherwise visit if there were more or better transport options.
  1. They receive either too much or too little attention from staff while in the store. Whether it’s not being greeted when they enter, the availability of employees throughout the store, or lack thereof, or the strange disappearance of all staff members when they need another size in the fitting room or have a question, customers just can’t seem to find the right balance of service. There are also some shoppers who complain about the clerk who asks them too many questions, suggests too many options, or just won’t leave you alone. So finding the balance of in store service is a challenge for most retailers.
  1. People don’t like waiting – for anything! Waiting for help from the sales associate, waiting to see if the product is available in their size, waiting in ridiculously long lines to check out, waiting for anything. Any time a customer has to wait is a major annoyance.
  1. Shopping trolleys that don’t work properly or are littering the neighbourhood. You know the one where each wheel is going in a different direction and the trolley has a mind of its own, or the ones that are so loud that you draw a crowd just trying to push it down the aisles, or the ones that have trash in them from the previous shopper, or are dripping wet from being left outside. The worst is probably the one on your footpath that you hope won’t roll into your car or down the street.
  1. Annoying environments. People who are annoyed don’t spend money in your store, because they usually don’t stay in your store long enough. If the music so loud that the shop windows are shaking is too loud. If people can’t talk over it, turn it down. If there’s stock, boxes, and staff filling the aisles, where is the customer supposed to walk? If there are no hooks or seats in dressing rooms, add them, or If it’s too bright or too cold, or it stinks, guess what? That all constitutes an annoying environment that customers won’t enjoy.
  1. No place to sit. We know that in-store space is at a premium and any space not chocked full of product may seem unproductive, but. Sometimes, shoppers need to sit! They may need to take a call, rummage through their purse, or just take a break. If you don’t provide a place for that, they will leave your store and find somewhere else to sit and they may not come back. And speaking of sitting. If you’re a sizable stand- alone store, there should be places for shoppers to sit and do, ahem, other things as well. If you get my drift!
  1. Feeling that stores don’t appreciate their business. Everyone wants to be appreciated. Appreciating shoppers should be as much a part of retailers business as taking customers money. However, expressing that appreciation sincerely seems to be a challenge for some retail associates. Friendly greetings, mannerly exchanges, prompt service and refraining from annoying practices like checking people’s bags as they leave the store (you might as well accuse everyone of being a thief), or chatting to another team member when there’s a customer waiting to be served. People work hard for the money they spend in your store, your staff should work equally hard to get, keep and appreciate their business.
  1. Staff with no product knowledge. When you’re spending at the “high end” of town, you expect staff to have product knowledge. What customers, especially informed customers, dislike is when staff representing a store have no clue about the merchandise that they are selling. When they don’t know, they can’t answer shopper questions to help them along their sales journey. The only thing worse – is when store staff give wrong information and advice.

So, if you’re looking to improve the shopping experience in your store, take a closer look at these things. If you’re not sure what else you can do to improve the experience in your store, here’s a novel idea… ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS!

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