The holiday shopping season is behind us, and the numbers are in: Retail sales in Canada were slightly lower than expected in December. So how can business owners improve sales going into 2013? Here’s one way: Deliver outstanding customer service. It’s one of the best, cheapest ways to differentiate yourself from the competition.
As a mom to three young girls, I am constantly managing the inflow-outflow of goods. I ought to use a spreadsheet to manage their clothes. Three girls times four seasons equals a whole lot of rotating tote bins. But it’s the sports equipment that throws me over the edge. I can never keep track of whose bathing suits and skates fit them at any given time.
That’s why I was grateful to get a recommendation to Newson’s
after months of cramming my youngest daughter’s feet into her too-small ice skates. Newson’s is family-run bike and skate exchange shop in Toronto’s west end. Truth be told, I wasn’t looking forward to the outing. Similar trips have involved big box stores with no help at all from salespeople, and, in one unfortunate incident, paying way more than I expected after my oldest daughter had tried on several pairs of skates and the price was only revealed at the cash register.
My daughter and I walked into Newson’s and it was quite busy. I sighed, and steeled myself for what I expected to be a long wait. Not so. A moment later a young, incredibly affable salesperson approached us to see if we needed help. He quickly grabbed a few pairs of skates and figured out which ones best fit my daughter. Not only was it really affordable to buy second hand, but I traded in her old skates and was able to pay even less.
I was so happy with the whole experience that I couldn’t stop gushing about it. It was quick, easy, painless, and cheap. Because I was a first-time customer, the salesperson kicked in a pair of skate guards on the house. I was thrilled. That’s the thing: It doesn’t take much. For the few extra cents it cost Newson’s, I was hooked. Not only will I go back when another kid outgrows her skates, I’ll tell all my friends about the store too.
Often, sadly, our customer service experiences are awful. We all have horror stories about being treated badly by companies. This year, make a resolution to be different. Don’t just treat your customers as you’d like to be treated, go beyond. Offer truly exceptional customer service. Your customers will be thrilled. They’ll spread the good word. This one is worth it. I promise.
To learn from the professionals, check out the Newson’s
website. I love how they explain their philosophy and the merits of buying second hand.