Having worked in retail many years ago, I had my share of weird customers. As a department manager in a mall anchor store, my role was to listen to the customers’ complaints, and always with a smile, give them what they wanted. I didn’t agree with some of the complaints, but the store policy was that “the customer was ALWAYS right.”
Most of the time, the job was fun and the complaints were not that bad, but I remember a particular incident when a woman brought in a pair of little girls’ sandals that had fallen apart. She complained about the workmanship and definitely wanted her money back.
These sandals were for a 5-6 yr. old girl, made of canvas, and were not really built for heavy-duty wear. First of all, they were returned at the end of the summer and, obviously had served their purpose. Second, the shoe soles were well-worn and the canvas straps were being held together with safety pins. The shoes had been purchased in the Spring, used all summer and had no usefulness in the approaching winter months.
With no questions asked, she was given her money back. And you know for a fact that she would be purchasing sandals the next Spring and, most likely, the same scenario would perpetuate. And why not, if the store giveth, the customer will taketh.
Retail stores have the same merchandise to offer, so what sets them apart from each other? Customer Service! We all know that, and we also know that customer service is very important in building our business.
I came upon the 7 commandments of “How to Keep your Customers” and thought I’d share:
1. Know your customers well. Anticipate their needs.
2. Contact them often or the competition will.
3. Handle complaints promptly and always with a smile.
4. Answer phone calls promptly, not 24-hours later.
5. Show them how dependable you are and how much they need you.
6. Make yourself indispensable.
7. Show your appreciation.
These points, when followed, set you apart from the online entrepreneur who may be your competition until the customer needs product information, wants to talk to a knowledgeable person or has a complaint. IMHO, follow these items and you will be the best that you can be.