Drug testing

Writing The Book On Great Customer Service

Q: One of the big chain bookstores recently opened up near my small book store. Already I can see my business starting to decline. Is there anything I can do to compete with the bigger store or should I just accept the inevitable? -- Peter Q.

A: A wise man once said, "The inevitable is never a sure thing."

Don't be so quick to close the book on your business, Peter. You probably can't compete with the superstore on volume of inventory or on price, but there are other things you can do to help keep the customers coming in your door. One of the best ways to ensure customer loyalty is to offer superior customer service.

It's funny that you're a bookseller. Let me tell you about my last visit to one of the big chain bookstores just a few weeks ago.

I took my teenage daughter in to find the classic book, The Once and Future King, for a school project that has to be done over the summer. It was a Sunday afternoon and the store was crawling with customers. We spent fifteen minutes scouring this great warehouse of a bookstore, but couldn't find the book anywhere. We also couldn't find anyone who worked there to ask for help.

Finally, I went up to the front counter and asked the apathetic looking teenager who was manning the register if they had the book in stock. She looked at me as if I'd asked her to do advanced calculus in her head and said, "I dunno."

I asked if she might check her computer for me. She looked at me again, this time as if I'd just asked her to rotate the tires on my car without a jack. After a minute of tapping the keys with her long fingernails (which were painted black, by the way) she said, "Yeah, we have it."

"Great," I said. "Where can I find it?"

She glanced at the screen again and said, "It says that it's in the classics section."

"Great," I said again. I use the word "great" a lot when I'm trying to restrain myself from strangling incompetent sales people. "Where might the classics section be?"

She didn't bother to look at me or the computer this time. She just shrugged and said, "Beats me, man. I've only worked her a week. "

I wanted to ask if there was anyone who had worked there long enough to know where the ^%$# classics section was, but by that time there were a dozen or so people lining up behind me to pay for books they had somehow managed to find on their own.

I went home and ordered the book online. So much for supporting my local bookseller.

It's a shame your store isn't located near me, Peter. I'll bet if I walked in and asked for a copy of The Once and Future King you would be able to tell me almost to the square inch where the book is on the shelf in your store. I'll also bet that if you didn't have a copy in stock you would go out of your way to order it for me.

That is what superior customer service is all about: going the extra mile to satisfy your customer. That is what will keep customers coming back to your store time and time again.

Superior customer service leads to greater customer satisfaction, which leads to repeat business, which leads to the holy grail of the retail business: customer loyalty.

Here are a few tips on how to deliver superior customer service and build customer loyalty:

1. Anyone on your staff who deals directly with the customers should be well groomed and dressed appropriately for the job. Customers over 25 years old will not get a warm and fuzzy feeling if the guy processing their credit card is wearing an Ozzy Osborne tee-shirt and matching nose ring.

2. Sales people should be knowledgeable about the product they are selling. I can't tell you how many times I have asked a sales person a simple question and only got a blank stare in return. A lack of product knowledge does nothing to instill confidence in the customer.

3. Your staff should know where every product is without having to ask a manager or consult a computer. At the very least they should be able to point out the ^%$# classics section without blinking an eye.

4. Make it a point to know your customer's name. Nothing makes a customer feel special like the sound of his or her own name. You can't remember everyone's name, of course, but you should strive to remember the names of those customers who come in regularly. I f requent one particular restaurant and the owner not only knows my name, but the names of my wife and kids. And every time I set foot in his restaurant he calls me by name and shakes my hand and personally leads me to a table. I don't feel like a customer. I feel like a friend.

5. Offer personal services that the big boys do not. Anything you can do to make your customer's life easier will be appreciated and remembered. If a customer comes in and asks for a book you do not have, offer to order the book and deliver it to their home so they don't have to make another trip to pick it up. All this is going to cost you is a few minutes of your time and you will not only save a sale, but also make a lasting impression on that customer. The next time they need a book they will head your way.

There are other things you can do to combat the bookstore Goliath, Peter, but offering superior customer service is a great place to start.

Here's to your success!

Tim Knox

Small Business Q&A is written by veteran entrepreneur and syndicated columnist, Tim Knox. Tim serves as the president and CEO of three successful technology companies and is the founder of DropshipWholesale.net, an online organization dedicated to the success of online and eBay entrepreneur.

Related Links:
http://www.prosperityandprofits.com
http://www.dropshipwholesale.net

limousine chicago service
In The News:

Is Your Food Establishment Clean?

Is your restaurant, bar or hotel clean? I mean really... Read More

Stellar Customer Service in 10 Simple Steps

If you're like me, you've had plenty of experience with... Read More

Moments That Matter

Many years ago, I was a first year apprentice assigned... Read More

What Every Employee Should Know About Putting Positive Phrases Into Customer Service

If you were a customer on the telephone with a... Read More

Ten Ways to Help You Improve Your Customer Service

1. Stay in contact with customers on a regular basis.... Read More

Businesses Need to Rehumanise

Big companies and corporations have lost the human touch. The... Read More

Identify Your Silent Customer Service Message

With the growing number of people in every business sector,... Read More

4 Things Your Clients Want From Your Company

Sure, all clients are different. They have different kinds of... Read More

Basic Levels of Consumer Integrity that Presently Permeates Society

Reality is not always pretty. But here is a tad... Read More

Customers - Hold Onto the Ones Youve Got

You probably spend a great deal of your time looking... Read More

At the Carwash; The Customer really is always Right

You have no doubt heard the saying that the customer... Read More

And The Difference is... Attitude

I returned a rental car at an airport yesterday. As... Read More

Boomerang Customers- What You Might NOT Think Brings Them Back!

With all of the calendars and PDA's and lists I... Read More

4 Easy Steps to Better Online Customer Support

Customer support is very important when you're running a business,... Read More

Restaurant Scheduling for Success

- Excerpt from Richard Saporito's latest e-book "How to Improve... Read More

Restaurant Owners ? How Important are People Skills?

You are serving great food. Your establishment is new, spotless... Read More

Post Office, Incredible Lady Postmaster

There are two Post Offices that I routinely visit. One... Read More

We Got It Wrong: Never Under Promise & Over Deliver

You know how it is, you believe something for so... Read More

Customer Satisfaction Is Your Business

Regardless of what business you are in - you are... Read More

Customer Service: Everyone is Fighting Their Own Personal Battles

Relationships... Money... Health..The Past...Failure..Mental and Spiritual Battles..Time Constraints...Professional pressures..At any... Read More

Top 10 customer service tips

1. Hire people who have a service attitude. Some people... Read More

My Child Has Opie Eye!

7:00 a.m., the silence in the house is broken by... Read More

Putting The Serve Back Into Customer Service

Good service is easy to spot and hard-to-find. Mediocre service... Read More

Dealing with Disgruntled Customers

No matter how hard you try, in business you simply... Read More

Doors by Catering to Your Clients

Clients? they are the most important influence in the success... Read More

indoor led lighting fixtures led light facts Pete's produce ..