Train your staff to treat your Customers right

Something that Customers always hate is when they ask a simple question and it cannot be answered;

  • “Do you know if these 2 products go together?”
  • “Does that come with a side salad?”
  • “How long do these normally take to be delivered?”

If your response is neither clear nor helpful you risk losing this customer. This initial engagement may lose you the customer straight away and that’s definitely not what you want.

Whatever you spent on Customer Acquisition, has just been lost !

These would seem like fairly simple questions, none of these represent any serious technical level understanding, but if you do not know the answer it can put off a customer.

Assuming you have employed someone with the right attitude and you give them a proper induction to their job, then here are some simple guidelines on how you should train them;

  • If they are going to be in sales, then they should understand the style and approach that you want them to adopt. How do you approach sales?
  • What kind of information do you need to gather from your Customer, in order to give them the right advice?
  • What are today’s specials, or where are the sale items that are in this week’s newspaper advert?
  • What ingredients go into your products? This is relevant for non-food items as well.
  • What are the buying signals you look for and what does your target customer look like? This may differ for different organisations, if a sales person is moving from a different industry or even a different part of the market.
  • What is the culture of your organisation? Are you warm and friendly, aggressive or even snobbish!
  • What are your standards for Customer Service? For instance, what is the standard way of meeting, greeting and saying goodbye to your customers. How do you answer the phone or deal with complaints? Include this in ideas for what kind of jokes, humour or banter is appropriate for your business.
  • If you have any technology in store, ensure there is sufficient training in how to process queries, transactions or anything else that maybe appropriate. It is extremely frustrating for a customer when the staff member cannot check something on the system or cannot demo a product in store, because they don’t know now to, or they don’t have a password to log on!


If you want your customers to take your organisation seriously in terms of being qualified to sell the product in your stores, then they should be able to answer most questions reasonably well or be able to connect them to someone who does know.

If you are worried about the time or cost then be innovative in your thinking. Make it a regular thing, as part of your regular team meetings to give updates and reminders, so you do not have to send them out of the business. Create some simple training documents or find an online video that you want to use as your own standard.

Having that deep detailed technical knowledge is not something that is essential anymore, but it should exist at a decent level. Much of this information is not available through the manufacturers websites or Google can often make a connection. In addition, there are now so many product review sites that many customers are doing their own research first or maybe even when in the store.

Importantly train your team on how to close. This is often the hardest part of sales and sometimes, it cannot be taught to some people. It needs both confidence, skill and diplomacy if you are not going to come across as a pushy sales person.

Don’t underestimate the importance of power of (regularly) training your staff properly, for the benefit of your customers and ultimately your own profitability.