Customer Service Training leads to Customer Retention and Market Share

Nobody Does it Better

Customer Retention means Market Share

This month's mood: Where's Customer Service?

I was listening to: "Nobody does it better" by Carly Simon

Customer retention is the most inexpensive way to ensure market share. The likelihood of your retaining a customer is a reflection of your minute-to-minute/interaction-to-interaction customer experience. Many leaders do not realize that customer satisfaction does not mean retention. Striving for "satisfaction" is not enough as satisfied customers are not loyal. Highly satisfied customers are 6 times more likely to buy again than "satisfied" customers; and it is at this point that your marketing and loyalty strategies have a chance of success. Otherwise, save your money!

So the challenge is: How can you deliver outstanding customer service when you have cut positions and wages and have more to do with less? Rethink everything! customer-service-retention-market-share

During the holidays, I hosted 17 family members (my lobotomy is complete). The challenge of feeding, then cleaning up just so I could start the "feeding cycle" again was endless. I thought I was very organized, having planned out the meals, the shopping list, and even the clean up teams. And yet I found myself at my nearby Safeway so much that in the end the Manager approached me about applying for a job!

As a company, Aspire has been watching Safeway for the last 24 months. This was a company that had strategically committed to reinventing its stores inside and out. During my 17 trips in 12 days to Safeway, I observed some outstanding customer service and together with the renovated store look, my "it's a mediocre grocery chain" perception turned around. Safeway has reinvented itself.

Here is what I learned:

Keep it Fresh. Provide Smart & Clever Offerings: They have a new salad bar, a much visually improved sandwich bar, a new pizza bar, and an expanded take home dinner section. They understand that today people have no time and want easy meal solutions for their lives. Understanding what your customer needs and providing it may not seem revolutionary and yet you don't see it very often. In addition, all of these offerings are conveniently located at the front of the store so the on-the-go shopper can run in, and run out!

  • POINT: Know who is buying and make it easy...really easy. Ask your team who are your customers, what do they want and how do we deliver it better for THEM? And if you are going to do what everyone else is doing, at least do it better and add a twist. As Einstein so graciously put it, you can not do the same things and expect different results! Think about it...if you have 4 less people at the front desk you have to think differently about the check-in and out process so it complements your manpower realities. Change it up.

Fanatical Helpful Service: Everyone from the Managers to the Stocking Clerks has been comprehensively re-trained at my Safeway. They know where things are located from the aisle to the location on the row ("2 thirds down the aisle on the right side"). They not only tell you where something is, they end with, "Would you like me to show you?" At one point, I had a personal shopper who just helped me spend more of my money. My simple milk run turned into a $129.00 purchase!

  • POINT: Get your community fanatical about helping every customer. Do whatever it takes. Share with your people that a highly satisfied customer is 6 times more like to buy again versus a satisfied customer. Embrace the "make people happy" business or you will be out of business. Your must inspire everyone in your organization to make each guest "dizzy with happiness." In today's economic realities, satisfaction means you are losing market share.

Revitalize Your Look: My Safeway perspective was that the store was dingy, kind of clean and not visually appealing. Not any more. The aisles have a little more space and they are of different designs versus a bowling alley/traditional grocery store feel. The signage is clear throughout the aisle and the lighting is bright. The carts are organized and I love the hand sanitizer they offer by the shopping carts.

  • POINT: No one has a large capital budget this year, so you have to get creative. First up...get rid of the clutter, add candles to your front desk, create an inviting smell in your lobby, revisit your music to create a feel, get a local artist to do an art gallery down a hallway, ditch the furniture pillows that look old and worn, have your chef, in whites, offer a taste of the evening special in the lobby, and touch the senses in every way. Ensure that everyone has a clean and pressed uniform, add your favorite hobby on your name badges to help create conversation and get everyone involved.

In the end, what you focus on comes true. Make a fanatical commitment to making each customer "dizzy with happiness" and then decide that no one will do it better!


Renie Cavallari is CEO and Chief Inspirational Officer for Aspire, an international training and consulting company positioning organizations to achieve optimum performance. Aspire provides innovative sales and customer service training, strategic marketing, leadership skills and cultural alignment for increasing revenues, growth in market share, a re-energized sales force and lasting changes in attitudes and outcome. Founded in 1995, Aspire has headquarters in Phoenix with a network of inspiring professionals across the country.

For more information on how to improve sales and leadership even in turbulent times talk with Renie directly at Tips On Leadership . Check out Renie's new book at The Official Girlfriends Getaway Guide.

retention strategy, define customer service, Improving Market Share, customer retention, Customer Service Training

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