What is VIP Service in Retail?

Jennifer Lilley
December 17, 2020

In bars and nightclubs, VIP tables keep your big spenders coming back night after night.

In bars and nightclubs, VIP tables keep your big spenders coming back night after night. It’s a simple strategy, tried and true through the ages. But in retail, you obviously don’t have this option. So how does the VIP principle translate to the sales desk? What is a VIP customer in the retail realm?

Treat them like VIPs before the first sale

A good rule of thumb is to treat every customer like a VIP. Your sales team should be willing and able to give each customer the red carpet treatment, whether they’re buying 30 computers or a single wireless keyboard. The latter customer may be back later with a massive order, or she may not. But she might write an online review about her great experience. And that’s something that will come up in the pre-purchase research your big customers are sure to conduct.

This idea goes further, though. Your large-purchase spenders want to be taken seriously and treated with professionalism, but they also want to work with businesses that value great customer service. If they only see you treating them with respect once you know they’re buying big, you run the risk of losing their repeat business.

You always have time to listen to VIPs

It’s Black Friday and you’ve been here since 4am prepping. You’re exhausted, the coffee is wearing off, and your store is now packed with excited customers. Will you take ten minutes to listen to a customer tell you exactly what he needs? Do you have time to answer all his questions? Can you spare a moment to laugh at his jokes?

The answer is always yes. You may have a hundred fires to put out, but remember, if you’re talking to a customer, you’re already most of the way to a sale, and if you’re listening, you’ll probably find an opportunity to upsell or cross-sell, too. Listening to your customers’ needs isn’t just considerate, giving them a positive impression of your store, it’s also smart business practice. Train your people to take as much time with your customers as they need. You won’t regret it.

Productivity loss, poor customer service, and decreased profits can be a direct result of disengaged employees. Learn why employee engagement matters. Download our free guide.

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Infographic: How to Encourage Upsells and Promotional Sales in Retail

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VIPs know their fields

Everyone loves that classic clip of Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation walking into Lowes. “Hi there,” says the associate. “Is there a project you’re working on?” Ron just scowls at him and says, “I know more than you.”

This is where VIP retail sales get tricky. Sometimes they do know more than you and your staff. Sometimes they only think they do. Start by asking a few questions: “Are you familiar with [X]?” Use your own product knowledge to gauge their own and go from there. Even if they know nothing, avoid talking down to them at all costs. Interact with humility and grace, and your customer will leave with knowledge, satisfaction, and hopefully a whole lot of merchandise. And they’ll be back.

VIPs appreciate a follow-up contact

High-spending customers aren’t just looking for products. They’re looking for relationships. Businesses they can trust and partner with who will handle their future needs. This is why we encourage you to send a simple follow-up email after they’ve had a while to make use of their purchase. But don’t just plug another deal. Instead, ask questions. “How’s that working out for you?”

As much as you have time to do, personalize these emails. Your customer may well get back to you with another need, and you have your next sale on your hands, as well as a strengthened customer relationship.

You might not have velvet ropes and bouncers, but you can still treat every customer like a VIP. To learn more, check out our infographic on how to boost upsells and cross-sells in wireless retail. And for more about how Arcade can transform your own retail operation, check out our case study with PCS Partners.

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