Clienteling is something that pretty much everyone in the retail industry knows they should be doing, but often fall short on in reality.
Retail sales associates will give a myriad of reasons why they don't have the time or ability to actively clientele. But in reality, it likely has nothing to do with your team's communication skills or sales experience and everything to do with how clienteling is being done at your business.
Manual clienteling—with its hand-written notes and time-consuming processes—can create a lot of challenges for even the most successful sales associates on your team.
Luckily, practically all of these challenges can be overcome when you implement a clienteling software solution at your business.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common reasons we hear why retail associates aren’t clienteling, and how clienteling software like Clientbook can help you and your team overcome them.
What is clienteling?
Clienteling is a retail skill used by sales associates to build long-term relationships with key customers to elevate the retail experience and foster loyalty.
Also known as relationship selling, clienteling involves sales teams using a combination of interpersonal skills and expert product knowledge to build rapport with customers and turn casual shoppers into loyal customers.
This includes keeping track of who comes into the store, noting customer preferences, and making personalized offers and product recommendations to build a personal customer experience.
Top challenges to clienteling and how to overcome them
If clienteling is a proven way to increase customer satisfaction, meet sales goals, and elevate the shopping experience for your buyers, why isn't everyone doing it?
The truth is, manual clienteling presents a few challenges for retail associates. Let's go over some of the most common hurdles manual clienteling presents and how clienteling software can help you and your team overcome them.
Challenge #1: It’s unfamiliar
One of the biggest reasons clienteling doesn’t stick with some retail associates is because they simply don’t know how. They’ve never been taught what clienteling is, what is involved, and what kind of sales skills it requires. In fact, it likely wasn't even in their original job description in the first place.
This isn’t their fault, but rather the store manager or sales manager who has neglected offering any kind of sales training on the relevant skills needed to build relationships with customers.
If sales associates are to do well, it’s their leader’s job to give them every tool and on-the-job training they need to be successful. Better yet, by giving them access to clienteling technology, it simplifies the process of clienteling and expedites the learning process.
Clientbook’s software is meant to be user-friendly and easy to pick up, so everyone from beginner sales associates to seasoned pros can implement it into their sales process in no time.
Challenge #2: It’s time consuming
Most retailers think they have to use notebooks or spreadsheets to keep track of each individual customer, which is tedious, time consuming, and honestly not worth the effort. Especially in a fast-paced environment with a constant flow of customers coming in and out of your store each day.
It's difficult to manage consistent customer communications when there isn't a good system in place to make clienteling easy.
When it's busy on the floor, the phone is ringing, and your team is struggling to keep up, they don't have time to worry about personalized service and keeping track of every single customer's name and birthday. Some days they're lucky to even stay on top of greeting customers when they come in.
And who can blame them? Why would you do anything manually in such a busy retail environment when there's a better way?
With clienteling software, your team can overcome the traditional challenges that spreadsheets and notebooks present and instead have instant access to customer data and helpful communication tools.
By utilizing retail technology, your associates have access to real-time data on all of their clients, all in one place. With features like search, filters, and tags, your team can easily sort and categorize their clients to find the one they're looking for with ease.
What's more, with automated reminders, sales reps will never forget to follow up with a client again. By searching through a client's shopping history, associates can even make personalized offers based on what they know their client would like best.
Challenge #3: It’s not being made a priority
Finally, a lot of retail sales associates aren’t clienteling because store owners aren’t making it a priority. This is largely because many owners don’t fully understand the impact it can have on sales, client retention, and overall brand loyalty. All they see is extra work that takes time away from their team on the sales floor.
So when owners are telling their associates to focus on simply closing a deal, they won’t have any reason to prioritize developing a relationship with a shopper that goes beyond a single day.
Relationship selling techniques like active listening skills, relationship-building techniques, or any other soft skills that help team members go the extra mile for a client often simply aren't the main priority for many companies.
When store owners embrace clienteling technology, sales associates can easily clientele without sacrificing a significant portion of their time or even leaving the sales floor.
With an app like Clientbook, sales associates can easily enter a client’s contact information, important dates, and product preferences right from their phone or tablet while they’re still with the client. No more running to the cash register to get the information you need.
What's more, when they’re ready to follow up with the client, they’ll have all the information they need to make a sales pitch that's personalized to what they know that client will respond to best.
Clienteling is about more than having excellent customer service skills. When sales associates spend less time trying to stay organized and more time building real relationships with their clients, it means casual shoppers are more likely to become loyal clients who keep coming back for more.
Clienteling software gives your team instant access to the important dates and events in a client's life, including their past product history, wish lists, and product interests. What’s more, it helps your team know when to follow up and what to follow up on, creating a personalized customer experience—the key to client retention and loyalty.
If you're ready to see how Clientbook can help your sales representatives meet their sales quotas and better serve your clients, book a demo today to see what we're all about.