Tips & Resources

Retail Customer Service: How to Improve it in 2024

Jessica Day
By Jessica True
28 March, 2024

Retail customer service is the backbone of your business. Here are some tried and tested methods for success.

customer service representative with icons around her

The importance of retail customer service can’t be overstated. An essential part of the customer experience, support can make or break a buyer's relationship with your brand. As many as 69% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company due to a bad experience.

Feel your retail customer service needs a boost? Here are some tried and tested methods for success.

9 tips for boosting your retail customer service

​​​​​​​1. Personalization is key

statistics on personalisation in retail
Image sourced from

Today, personalization is everywhere in retail, with as many as 69% of business leaders investing in the tactic. From unique product recommendations to birthday greetings by email, customers want personalized experiences at every step of the user journey. This, of course, includes interactions with customer services. 

You can start simple – always address customers by their first names. If it’s a new customer, make sure that agents ask for a name. This simple step can help establish a more human connection, and give customers a more positive experience. 

Of course, you can go a step further. Below are some more ways you can offer personal shopping experiences utilizing customer data. 

  • Recommend future products or services.
  • Tailor solutions around the unique needs of an individual customer. 
  • Forward callers to an agent best suited to meet their needs. 
  • Offer smart discounts in return for any issues customers have faced. 
  • Reward loyal customers with special offers. 

2. Offer consistent experiences on multiple platforms

Today, customers expect more than traditional forms of customer service. Phone support is still an essential piece in the customer service puzzle. Modern customers, though, prioritize convenience above all. That means that proactive customer services should be present on as many platforms as possible, including: 

  • social media accounts. 
  • your website. 
  • Via email. 
  • On audio and video calls.  

Incorporating CRM and email marketing strategies into these channels can further enhance personalized interactions and customer engagement.

Of course, try not to bite off more than you can chew. If you’re running a small operation, you might not be able to provide services on every platform. 

Remember, customer service should provide consistent levels of high-quality support. You won’t be able to achieve that if your services team is spread too thinly. Where possible, invest in technology to help ease the load on your teams. For instance, a visual voicemail can save teams valuable time by creating a transcript of audio messages. 

3. Is it omnichannel?

Even if you offer support across multiple channels, it still might not be enough. The most successful retail brands now focus on offering seamless experiences across different platforms. Known as omnichannel support, these are the gold standard of customer services. To underline the usefulness of this approach, let’s give an imaginary example. 

After receiving a product, a customer runs into an issue. They head to your website and speak with an agent via live chat. After learning about the customer’s issue in more detail, the agent refers them to phone support. 

When the customer rings your phone line, should they: A be able to carry on where they left off, or B, have to start from scratch with a new agent? If you’re to offer a true omnichannel experience, the answer should be A every time. 

Offering this level of service means equipping agents with the right tools to support customers. Support needs easy access to previous queries so that a customer isn’t left waiting and can have their issue resolved quickly. 

4. Keep your staff up to date

If your staff don’t know your products, then your customers aren’t likely to feel confident in your services. Products change regularly with updates and new variations. Just because you briefed staff on a product when it came out, doesn’t mean they’re up to date now.  

Ensuring that staff are well clued up should be an ongoing project. This means regular training sessions in the latest retail communications techniques, and allowing staff to get to grips with your products. After all, the more they understand your offering and have good soft skills, the better support they can give. For more complex products, video tutorials, real-life examples and live demos might be more appropriate. 

Outside of training, be sure to provide a set of easy-access resources for staff. Customer service agents should be able to access these at any time and brush up on product details. Try to provide a wide range of resources ranging from product manuals to interactive quizzes.  

5. Keep in touch with customers 

team event
Free to use image sourced from Unsplash

The customer is always right. The best way of checking whether your customer service plan is up to scratch, and being followed, is by speaking to them. 

Luckily, there are plenty of methods that you can use to get in touch. You could create a survey of current customers, asking questions about different aspects of customer service. Or, you could utilize your social media audience by asking questions to your followers. Another source of information is review sites.

If you prefer a more hands-on approach you could even organize a focus group and speak to customers face-to-face. 

However you speak to customers, ensure they know their voice is being listened to. Put customer feedback into practice and improve your customer service. Share improvements via emails and other channels and treat customer feedback as an ongoing process. Check-in with shoppers regularly to gauge approval. 

6. Have separate teams for complex calls

When every single customer is on the same line, the call queue quickly becomes crowded. Customers get more and more frustrated, and some leave before they reach an agent. Some callers will have simple queries that can be fixed within minutes. Others will be dealing with more complex issues which take time. 

To help relieve some of the backlog, why not split these callers into two groups? Having a line dedicated to those with the trickiest queries should help reduce queuing significantly. This relieves frustration from customers and alleviates pressure on your support agents. 

7. Invest in retail training

statistics on soft skills training
Image sourced from

It doesn’t matter how you invest in your store, your retail operation is only as good as your staff. Despite this, a recent survey showed that 55% of workers said they need more training to perform their jobs more effectively. When it comes to creating a warm, inviting environment in-store or on a video call, retail training makes all the difference. As well as the more technical aspects, don't forget the importance of soft skills.

Effective time management is crucial for retail operations. According to Acuity Training, less than 1 in 5 people have a proper time management system, highlighting the widespread need for effective time management strategies in retail operations. 

Interestingly, their research found that the Eisenhower matrix proves to be the most successful technique, with 100% of users reporting feeling in control of their work 4 or 5 days per week. This underscores the significance of investing in staff training to equip employees with essential time management skills, crucial for enhancing productivity and efficiency in retail settings.

Training should go beyond onboarding to facilitate continuous learning. After all, even your most seasoned employees have room for improvement. Training can help staff better adapt to new developments. When you adopt new systems, such as a headless commerce architecture, your team will be better prepared for the change.  

The right training can support skills in several key areas of customer service. This includes communication, time management, and critical thinking. 

8. Invest in chatbots 

mobile phone showing the chat gpt app
Free to use image sourced from Unsplash

In the past Chatbots were notoriously unreliable, providing unhelpful or generic answers. It’s understandable if you’ve been avoiding them until now.

Luckily, chatbots have advanced significantly in recent years. That’s largely thanks to the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI). AI is used in everything from supply chain forecasting to powering product recommendations. Conversational AI chatbots are the latest development. 

Modern chatbots can use a branch of AI called machine learning, which uses algorithms to mimic human thought. The idea is that the more data that you feed to AI, the more it will learn and develop. 

AI Chatbots can grow from conversations with customers, and utilize historical data to resolve queries. They can learn what works and what doesn’t, much like a human customer support agent. And unlike human agents, chatbots are always available. There’s no queuing on the part of the customer. 

The technology can be an effective way of relieving pressure on human agents. Have AI handle simplistic queries and leave human agents to resolve newer, complex issues. The result should be less queuing, quicker resolutions, and ultimately, happier customers. 

9. Don’t forget instore in-store customer service

stock image of a retail shop
Free to use image sourced from Unsplash

Customer service in retail isn’t all online -  it is just as important in your brick-and-mortar stores. Your store needs to have a happy environment that entices customers. This means enhancing your in-store experience. 

Here are some of the ways this can be achieved.  

  • Make your store easy to navigate, with aisles clearly signposted. If your shop consists of multiple floors, provide maps to help customers have a positive shopping experience.
  • Have a section dedicated to in-store pickups for customers who order online. 
  • Have well-organized shelves, laid out logically. 
  • Ensure that staff are on hand across the shop floor to help customers with any queries. 
  • Make your store accessible to those with disabilities.
  • Have self-checkout options and allow customers to use multiple forms of payment. 

Kickstart your retail customer service

Customer service is the backbone of every retail operation. Without excellent customer service, you’ll struggle to pick up or retain new shoppers. But providing the best services is tricky, perhaps now more than ever. Customers are accustomed to seamless personalized experiences. 

In this article, we’ve provided nine tips to help kickstart your retail customer service. Implementing these will take time and commitment. Though, as we’ve explored, this effort will pay dividends in the long run.   

So, why not take some time to assess your retail customer service? Your customers (and your bank account!) will thank you for it.  

Jessica Day

About the author

Jessica True

Jessica True is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy and Operations at Dialpad, a modern business communications platform that takes every kind of conversation to the next level—turning conversations into opportunities. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns. Jessica has also written for other domains such as Influno and Here is her LinkedIn.

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