Techniques for Assisting Customers in the Selling Process

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  • 0:02 Customer Service
  • 1:43 How Customer Service Works
  • 3:21 The Three As
  • 5:01 Product Knowledge
  • 6:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elissa Vaughn

Elissa is a professional content writer with a certification in inbound marketing, BA in history, and a decade of experience in retail sales and marketing.

In this lesson, we'll explore how to assist customers in the selling process by looking at the practice of customer service and its associated techniques. Check out this lesson to learn about upselling, cross-selling, and product knowledge.

Customer Service

You've been saving up for weeks to buy a new laptop, and you finally have the time to visit that new electronics store at the mall. You have a bit of an idea of what you want, but you also want help if there are too many options available. Sure enough, once you get to the store, you are inundated with options. To make the process easier, you decide to ask a sales associate for help.

You turn to the left and then the right, but not a single employee is in sight. After wandering around the store, your excitement starts to dwindle. Finally, you find a sales associate named Kevin to help you. You ask Kevin questions about the different laptops available and which would work best for your needs, but his indifference to your questions and lack of product knowledge just leaves you frustrated and disappointed.

Upset but not defeated, you decide to check out another electronics store that your friends and family have been raving about. This time around, you walk in less excited, but that changes the moment you are greeted by a friendly professional named Jeremy who asks if you need help finding a product. Jeremy asks you what your needs are, pays attention to those needs, discusses various features, and suggests which models would work best for you. Before you know it, you've found the perfect laptop. You also decide to buy a lap desk for traveling that Jeremy suggests. He knows a lot about the products and seems just as excited about your new purchase as you are. No wonder your friends and family love this place!

On your way home, you think of a few more accessories that you would like for your laptop. Which store are you most likely going to return to, and which sales associate are you most likely going to ask for?

How Customer Service Works

What Jeremy did was apply extraordinary customer service skills to create a rewarding experience for you and a successful sale for the company. A strong sense of customer service is the cornerstone of successful selling and helps guide customers toward the right buying decisions. Customer service doesn't apply to just retail stores either; phone sales, online stores, real estate businesses, and really any sales environment needs to have a successful customer service strategy. Even girl scouts apply customer service skills to assist their customers and drive those cookie sales!

The technical definition of customer service is the delivery of service to customers from the beginning to the end of a business transaction. This means that customer service begins once a customer enters a store and ends once they've walked out the door. Successful sales associates understand that selling involves using techniques to gain the trust of new customers and maintain the loyalty of regular clientele. These techniques include acknowledgement, attentiveness, active listening, and product knowledge.

By applying good customer service, you'll be able to assist customers more easily while improving important sales tactics like upselling and cross-selling. Upselling is the process of persuading customers to buy a more expensive alternative to their original choice, while cross-selling is the process of suggesting add-on products that can accompany or improve the customer's original purchase. Please note that businesses often use these two terms interchangeably or just use the term 'upsell' to refer to both tactics.

The Three As

Immediately acknowledging your customer with a friendly greeting and an offer to help is the first step toward building the trust you need to successfully sell to them. This creates a positive shopping experience from the start, and often, this simple step can make all the difference in turning a casual browser into a paying customer. Whether your customer is just browsing, has a product question, complaint, or even just a question about driving directions, you must be attentive to what they're saying and display that through eye contact, welcoming body language, and good listening skills.

A good trick to letting customers know that you care about their question is to repeat it back to them in a friendly manner. This is also known as active listening, which means to listen and repeat back an issue in your own words. This technique also helps you understand your customer's needs a lot better. Take this dialogue, for example:

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