It’s nice to be important but more important to be nice.
Today is Day 2 of New Lent (also known as “48 hours without cake”) so I am a little bit out of sorts. Well I am putting it down to withdrawal but it could be general pre-payday blues! Either way I feel a rant coming on.
Last Sunday I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Craft & Stitch International Trade Fair at Birmingham NEC. The experience confirmed my feelings that small business owners are the best and should be supported and revered. Anyone who is brave enough to branch out and “go it alone” should be admired.
Knitters are, on the whole, awesome people and never fail to amaze me how generous and supportive the knitting community is. This is probably what motivates me to hang around them. I should perhaps stress that most creative people seem to fit into this category in my experience, but knitters are closest to my heart.
However, there is always an exception. I have been shocked at the customer service I have received in two different wool shops recently. If you are fortunate to have a real life bricks and mortar shop, you need to be nice to your customers. All of your customers, because you need people to come back again and again. When your customer walks in you need to greet them with a smile and strike up a conversation to make them feel welcome. You need to let them browse and handle the goods without removing skeins of yarn from their hands. You need to offer help and support when it is required without sighing or rolling your eyes. In fact when there is a customer in the shop it’s probably better to avoid any job that you don’t want interrupted, like your accounts, ordering equipment or making a phone call. If you are lucky enough to meet your customer face to face then you need to thank your lucky stars and treat them like gold.
When your customer is brave enough to tell you that they are unhappy about something you have done, you need to listen and act on that feedback. Most people won’t tell you that they are upset, they just won’t come back. So feedback, whether good or bad, is a good thing and should be embraced, especially when it is within your power to right the wrong. In this age of the internet “real life” customers are in even shorter supply, especially those that will spend on quality products and aren’t just after the “bargain” yarns, so cherish them. Please.
Yarn is a luxury item, especially when you buy the good stuff. I believe that people invest so much precious time in their creations that it is worth spending a little extra on the yarn that I use. I don’t, however, believe that shop owners should behave as if my custom is their “right”. If you want quality customers then you need to treat them as such.
So in this difficult economic climate if you are lucky enough to have opted out of the rat race and be in charge of your own destiny, then remember your economy depends on customer service so don’t lose sight of the life blood of your business – your customer.
Disclaimer – I should point out that the stores that have provoked this rant have not and will never be mentioned on this blog. Anyone I make reference to anywhere on the Internet must have pleased me or they wouldn’t be a mention. When I find good customer service I will always shout it from the rooftops!
On a lighter note it’s only 39 days until the return of cake. In the meantime we can drool over cocktails. Rum being another form of sugar on the abstinence list.
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