Every day as we do business either in person or online, we experience either great customer service, or a total lack of it. Business owners can gain credibility quickly as they are starting out in order to gain business….there are so many clues for success that we can implement from our own personal experiences.
Our daughter is expecting our first grandchild and is going through the process of sorting out everything they will require for the baby. It’s been many years since I have stepped inside a baby store to search for all the gear young parents need. A big difference since we had our children, is the amount of knowledge young parents today have. They are educated, they have done research online, and they know what they want.
When they come into a store they have specific things they want to know. Our daughter and son-in-law are in the process of deciding on a stroller. Today it is not uncommon to spend over $700 on a stroller. For a $700 investment, you would expect great customer service. Our daughter went to a specialty shop first to “test drive” the stroller she had in mind. The reps there were extremely knowledgeable and helpful and answered all of her questions. Next, she brought our son-in-law to another store (chain store) that was nearby to an appointment they had. This store carried the same brand and make of stroller, so she thought he could also get all his questions answered. They couldn’t get anyone to help them, and after a long wait, tracked a rep down to ask questions. The rep knew nothing and gave absolutely no service whatsoever.
This is an example of two stores, both carrying the same product with the same price tag. One store had 5 reps on the floor, 1/10th of the size of the chain store. It wasn’t a matter of the specialty store being more expensive so they could hire and train more staff. They simply understand the importance of providing outstanding customer service.
Today our daughter went back to the specialty shop to look at the car seats, which again, is a much bigger decision than it was 30 years ago. Car seats today expire and are government regulated, at least here in Canada. The car seat is somewhere around $300, so just these two purchases alone will be over $1,000. For that type of price, one expects to have their questions answered.
This goes a lot further than just the mom & dad purchasing what they need. Guaranteed they have friends that are also having children, and will be sharing their shopping experiences with them. Add to this the “registry” the expectant parents are putting together for showers. They are not going to direct any business to the store with no service.
This is one of the differences between thinking like an employee, and thinking like a business owner. Successful business owners understand it isn’t just about the immediate potential sale, and it isn’t simply a matter of ringing it in on the till. Each person that comes in looking for something specific, no doubt has a list of other things they need, friends that also are going to be needing similar items, and in this case, dozens of other potential customers that will be buying something the parents put on the registry.
But it also goes even further. This business with the exceptional service is 1 hour away from our town. I had never heard of it. We used to have one of the chain stores in our town that provided the poor service. It is closed now. Anyone that decides to purchase something from the registry from this store with the exceptional service, will remember this next time they have a baby gift to buy. We have a tight-knit group of friends, about 40+ in total, and the biggest majority of them don’t have grandkids yet. These are all potential future customers for this store. Of course, the staff has no way of knowing the potential of 1 single client that comes into their store, but here lies the importance of getting to know your customer, and providing outstanding service. Good customer service is vital to building a successful business. There is nothing more powerful in advertising than simple word of mouth, which doesn’t cost anything.