Genuine customer contact is vital

Good morning. No sooner have I stepped across the threshold into an independent card and gift shop and I was greeted with a warm smile and a happy Good Morning. There was no pressure to say what I was looking for, no pitch of a special deal.

At the counter paying for a couple of items the sales associate said I hope you found what you were looking for – again with a warm smile.

None of this felt fake or forced. It felt like they cared about me and my experience with their business.

While your typical newsagent has four or more times the foot traffic of the independent card and gift store I am writing about here, we have to find ways to engage in genuine customer contact.

I do understand that the experience is different in the country compared to the city, especially in smaller country towns – people are naturally more friendly and engaged with each other.

Imagine if every person entering a newsagency was warmly greeted in one way or another without being over the top and if every person leaving there was thanked for shopping today or asked if they found what they were looking for. Yes, it would be labour intensive. But executed right, you would have shoppers loving our channel more.

In surveys and when asked at conferences, newsagents cite customer service as the most significant point of difference. I wonder if there is a difference between what we think and how we act. I know in my own situation we could do much better on customer interaction. It would require a bigger payroll investment but could / should deliver a bigger return.

If we want customers to remember our businesses we need to provide them with memorable experiences. Genuine and personal customer interaction is a key.

While this sounds like a marketing tip I have tagged it as a management tip as getting customer service right is a management function.


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