Does good customer service matter when selling at flea markets? Yes! For starters, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
Do a simple Google search and you'll find that "customer service is the assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services." Okay, if you’re anything like me, you had to read that twice, so let’s put it simply - taking care of the customer.
Want ideas on how to sell even more of your product/service/ideas at markets? Amp up your customer service. But how?
Try This Exercise
Think about the last time you went to a restaurant, maybe the last time you went to Wal-Mart or that little small-town Mom-n-Pop shop just down the street. Answer the following questions about your experience:
- Did someone greet you with a smile?
- Did they seem genuinely glad to see you, or did they seem unimpressed to be at work?
- Did they ask if you needed help, or did they avoid you like the plague and seem busy with anything other than helping you?
- How did you feel about the experience?
- Were you satisfied or upset, grateful or frustrated?
What Customer's Want
When I think of customer service, I can’t help but think of the Mel Gibson film, What Women Want. Wow, yes, I just went there.
In case the year 2000 (when the movie came out) was too long ago for you to remember, here’s a quick synopsis:
Gibson’s character (relate him to a business owner) had an accident and suddenly was able to hear the innermost thoughts of women (or customers) - and find out exactly what they want/need/like. He uses this information to gain an upper hand to get the girl (or make a sale). Gibson had to first understand women through hearing their thoughts.
Similarly, you as a business owner or flea market vendor need to first understand the customer's point of view.
With that in mind, here are three customer service tips all flea market vendors should be practicing when selling goods at any market. Use these ideas to grow your sales and gain lifelong customers.
1. The Golden Rule - Do Unto Others
Yes, Do Unto Others. This may seem a little like a Kindergarten throwback, but after all, Robert Fulghum said it best when he wrote the book titled All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.
Think back to some of my examples from earlier – restaurant, Wal-Mart, Mom-n-Pop shop. How were you treated? What would make you as a customer want to go back? What would make you not want to go back?
Your own experiences as a customer are invaluable when deciding your own customer service strategy. Decide what you like and appreciate as a shopper, and then apply it to your own business. For starters, you could try the following tips that will keep customers coming back to your booth again and again:
- Be attentive to shoppers.
- Smile, stand up when someone walks into your flea market booth.
- Let customers know how appreciative you are to have them there.
- Be genuine and helpful; go that extra mile.
2. Stay Cool with "That" Customer
I’ve had a number of experiences with “that” type of customer. You know, the one you can never seem to please and just won't let it go? Yes, it can be rough. But don’t let it get you down. So, how do you handle it?
Have you ever accidently (or not so accidently) mirrored your customer’s anger and frustration? Ever been told two wrongs don’t make a right? It’s true! Yelling won't solve any problems. In fact, it only causes more problems, and will deter potential customers away from your booth.
Keep Calm and Customer Service On (That should be on a T-shirt!)
I’m not asking you to abort to the fetal position and bend over backwards for an unruly customer. Nope! You also deserve respect and you shouldn’t have to give in to someone who is just trying to get something out of you.
Try these simple steps for dealing with unruly customers in your booth:
- Acknowledge your customer’s feelings. Have them explain why they are upset and feeling frustrated or angry.
- Use body language. Keep yourself open to the customer. Remember, turning away or being inattentive will only cause the steaming pot to boil over.
- Keep calm. Politely ask what you can do, and arrive at a conclusion that can make both you and the customer satisfied.
3. Build Relationships
Although it doesn’t sound like an obvious customer service strategy, building relationships is very important in the world of business and is an asset in the realm of customer service. Plus, being a vendor in a flea market gives you great opportunities to meet lots of different people in one setting, on one day.
If somebody has already bought from you, you have a point of contact, you have a customer. Here are a few simple ways to build relationships with your existing customers:
- Hand out business cards. After you make a sale, give the customer your business card. How does this relate to customer service? Well, what if that customer wants to order something from you again? Without much effort they have your information and how to easily contact you to order. Providing that simple card is customer service (not to mention it markets your business!) It's an easy hassle-free process will only open the door for that customer to come back time and time again as well as tell their friends!
- Keep in contact. Gather customer emails, or create a Facebook page for your flea market business that you keep up-to-date (which I will talk about in the next blog.) Doing these things will strengthen existing relationships and enable you to meet new potential clients.
Make Customer Service a Priority
Customer service is one of those aspects of setting up at flea markets that may seem troubling at times. There’s a lot to it! But if you keep your customers happy by treating them the way you would want to be treated, staying calm in stressful situations and building relationships are customer service, you can begin to build a better flea market business and make more sales.
Want to see more tips on making money at flea markets? Download our free E-book.