- Buyer's Guide
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Read part 1 here.
All the time and effort that you exert to make your business a one-of-a-kind, individualized experience is negated if your staff does not mirror these values and ideals. Your employees are the keepers of your culture: the ones who maintain your operating standards, customer-service practices and the atmosphere that distinguishes you from a similar shop down the street.
You must be meticulous with your hiring practices to ensure you’re bringing the correct people onboard. Reject candidates that do not parallel your customer-centric model. Instill in your new hires the magnitude of your business philosophy.
There are occasions when business owners actually diminish their customers’ experience in an attempt to overcomplicate their service practices. A prime example of this occurred at a local grocery store during their first year in business. Customers would often leave their carts throughout the parking lot. The owners and staff did not have return racks for carts because they did not want to convey an obligation for their customers to return them to the store — they wanted them to leave them in the lot for the employees’ to collect. While a nice sentiment in theory, in practice they were creating a parking lot situation full of obstacles and potential damage to their customers’ vehicles.
After receiving feedback throughout the year, they decided to install permanent return racks in the parking lot, and while it requires a bit more effort on the part of their customers, they no longer have to navigate a minefield of carts or risk damage when they come to shop.
Considering any and all feedback is a paramount component to running a thriving business. Your experience-audit will assist in determining their validity, but you should always take heed to what your customers are saying. Your customer service practices should be organic and seamless and never overcomplicate their shopping experience.
If the product you sell or the service you provide does not live up to your customer service, then your patrons will not return. All of the perks of choosing your business over your competition go out the window when what you offer fails to live up to expectations.
There must be a direct parallel between the way you treat your customers and what you provide them — if you don’t, your base will begin to dwindle. They may head to the business down the road that doesn’t nail the customer service aspect, but they always receive the service or product they expect once they leave.
Shopping or conducting business should not feel like a chore best avoided: it should be an enjoyable experience, one that your customers desire to repeat. A customer-centric culture defines you, and will carve out your share in the market as the place to go — and put you ahead of the competition.
Tron Jordheim is the CMO of StorageMart, one of the world's largest privately held self-storage companies with locations across the U.S. and Canada. Jordheim has consulted for companies and spoken at trade events around the globe. Prior to StorageMart, Jordheim managed one of Culligan Water's top U.S. bottled water franchises. With over 40 years of experience in sales, marketing and training, he is sought after as a public speaker, sales trainer and consultant. Visit www.storage-mart.com/blog/author/tron-jordheim.