Jeanette Giancaspro is a consumer reader of Scrapbook Update. She joins us a guest blogger today to share her perspective on what is really important to her as a consumer. You can learn more about her by visiting her blog It’s My Crafty Life.
When I was a little girl, my grandmother owned a yarn store. It wasn’t just any yarn store. It was “Connie’s Yarn Shop,” and her customers came from miles around to spend the day (and often the evening) knitting and crocheting, and making all sorts of wonderful creations. The reason for my grandmother’s success wasn’t just her wide selection of goods and services. She also gave her customers outstanding customer service. As soon as they walked into her store, they felt valued, appreciated, and welcome. That is one of the keys to operating a successful business.
Unfortunately, this is the exception rather than the norm these days. Here’s a scenario with which I’m sure many of you can relate: I go into a large craft store looking for a particular item. I look on the shelf where I expect it to be, but it’s not there. I look around for a sales associate to help me, but there is no one around. I search the store and find someone who appears to be annoyed even before I ask her a question. After I inquire about the product, she looks at me as if I’m crazy and says something like, “I’ve never heard of that,” or “If it isn’t on the shelf, we don’t have it.” I look somewhere else and find it. After waiting in line for about 20 minutes, and trying to use a valid coupon that the cashier refuses to accept, I leave frustrated and angry.
I don’t think this is the way most retail store owners want us to leave their stores. I believe that everyone who owns a store truly wants his/her customers to be happy. The problem lies in employee training and supervision. Sales associates, cashiers, and stock personnel must be pleasant, helpful, and knowledgeable. No one can be expected to know everything, but a pleasant and helpful attitude goes a long way in customer service.
As a consumer, I feel from my experience that retail store owners need to pay more attention to training and supervising their employees so that their stores can compete in these difficult economic times. They must hold their employees to higher standards and train them more effectively in customer relations. They should also monitor employees to ensure that customers are leaving their stores on a positive note. Can every store be a Connie’s Yarn Shop? Of course not. Can every store make me feel valued, appreciated, and welcome? Absolutely!