The right range of products, an attractive store interior, well-merchandised shelves – these are all crucial to help stores attract and retain customer footfall. However, none of these count for anything if your customer service isn’t up to scratch.

Excellent customer service really is the backbone of any successful business and customers can be put off visiting a store again if they receive bad service. I might be a sales assistant, but I’m also a shopper. There are stores selling quality local goods in our area, but I don’t visit them because their service is so poor and they make you feel like you don’t matter.

It’s the little things that count. In my role as a sales assistant, I strive to treat every customer as though they are my first, even if it’s 10pm and I’m shattered. I always ask how they are, if they found everything they needed, or comment on the weather. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation, especially not when the store is busy and customers are in a rush, just a few points to show you care that they are choosing to shop with you.

Great sales assistants have a feel for this. I always place change back into customer’s hands, too. I can’t bear it when sales assistants just leave it on the counter for shoppers to pick up.

We all have bad days and there are rude customers; you just have to keep your chin up, try not to take it personally. I’m passionate about what I do, as are the other members of our team and most sales assistants I know. Together, we make a huge difference to how stores are perceived and shopped and that’s why I support the National Living Wage. We’re worth it.