Guest Post by Lou Manfredini, Ace Hardware’s Home Expert and Center for Excellence Team Member, boasts more than 25 years of home improvement experience.
The new world of shopping
Let’s face it, the way we shop and buy things now is a lot different than it was even 5 years ago thanks to online ordering, buying through an app, writing online reviews – the list goes on. While you can order just about anything from your smart phone, the ability to touch and feel, sit, lift and just admire in real life cannot be replaced.
So, what does that mean when it comes to your customer and treating them the right way?
Celebrating 90 years of customer service growth
Well, at Ace Hardware we’ve learned a few things over the last 90+ years. We are proud to be “The Helpful Place” in the eyes of our customers. We’ve made our mistakes and gotten better with every one. The following are some of our ideas about amazing customer service, as we look to celebrate excellent customer service this upcoming Customer Service Week:
- Seize the moment. Taking care of customers is like a Broadway show. The people that came to see the show for the first time on a Tuesday are no different than the group there on a Wednesday night. You have to perform. Never get complacent and assume that just being there is enough. How you interact and assist that customer will have a direct effect the next time they have a choice as to where to do business. If you do it well, it will be with you.
- Ask open-ended questions. Say, “Can I help you?” and oftentimes you will get a “No,” in reply. Saying, “what can I help you find?” or “how can I help you?” can be a conversation starter and will help direct your customer in the right direction.
- Ask the extra question. In the hardware business, if they come in for a bucket of paint we will ask, “do you need any brushes, roller sleeves, a drop cloth?” Always think about complementing products or services that may go with what the customer is seeking. That little reminder can save them a trip, increase your bottom line and leave a positive feeling with the customer that you are there to help if they need it.
- The customer is not always right. It’s true! But your business needs customers because without them you’ll be right all the way out of business. I call it “killing them with kindness.” It’s easy to get mad and confrontational, but that helps no one. Listen and try to come to a mutually beneficial solution. Do everything you can to solve the problem. In the end you may not be successful, but at least you can go to bed at night knowing you tried your best.