The Top Customer Service Skills Every Retail Business Must Have to Be Successful

Sep 26, 2023 / by Craig Valine

In an age where retail options are abundant, businesses need more than just high-quality products or competitive prices to thrive; they require exemplary customer service. How a customer feels during and after their interaction with a retail brand can make or break their loyalty. Here are the top customer service skills every retail business should cultivate to ensure success:

  1. Active Listening: Whether it’s understanding specific needs or picking up on non-verbal cues, listening is fundamental. A prime example is Apple’s retail employees, who are trained to ‘read’ customers, understanding not just what they’re saying, but also their underlying needs and emotions.
  2. Empathy: Genuine empathy can turn a potentially negative interaction into a positive one. Nordstrom, renowned for its customer service, empowers its employees to make judgment calls when addressing customer concerns, fostering a genuine human connection.
  3. Patience: Retail can be demanding. The most successful retailers arm their staff with the skill of patience. For instance, companies like Zappos are known to spend hours on a single customer call, ensuring that the customer’s issue is resolved thoroughly.
  4. Clear Communication: It’s not just about speaking; it’s about articulating. Retailers like Warby Parker train their employees to explain processes and products in an easy-to-understand manner, ensuring that the customer leaves with no ambiguities.
  5. Knowledge of the Product: A thorough understanding of the product or service can elevate a shopping experience. Brands like Lush Cosmetics, where employees give hands-on product demonstrations, exemplify this.
  6. Adaptability: Retail landscapes shift, and customer moods can be unpredictable. The most successful brands ensure their staff can pivot when needed. Amazon, for instance, has quickly adapted its customer service strategies during peak seasons or unforeseen circumstances to ensure customer satisfaction.
  7. Problem-Solving: Effective resolution can win a customer for life. Take the Ritz-Carlton, which operates on a ‘problem resolution’ model. Employees can spend up to $2,000 to solve a guest’s problem without seeking managerial approval.
  8. Teamwork: Even in customer service, it’s a team game. Businesses like Starbucks foster a team environment where employees work together to ensure each customer has a seamless experience.
  9. Positive Attitude: A pleasant demeanor can significantly impact a customer’s shopping experience. Trader Joe’s, with its friendly and enthusiastic staff, is a testament to this.
  10. Feedback Reception: Successful businesses understand the importance of receiving and acting on feedback. Companies like LEGO often incorporate customer feedback into product development and improvement.

In conclusion, while discounts and deals may draw a customer in, it’s exceptional customer service that makes them return. Retail businesses that prioritize and hone these skills are the ones that will truly stand out in a crowded marketplace.

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