customer serviceOne of the great elements of community retailing is getting to know who our customers really are. Having spent the first part of my retail career working in High Street multiple stores it was very pleasant to discover how friendly most customers are to their shop owners and staff.

Of course this type of relationship is a two way process as the more we discover about our customers the easier they see us as a must-use business. Yes, I know that West Chiltington is an affluent community with a great variety in the vocations and interests of its residents. Shortly after we took over our shop a customer told me that what ever our hobbies or interests we would find someone to share them with, whether it was stamp collecting or burglary! And so the community has proved to be.

Recently I had the opportunity to use my customer knowledge in a very pleasing way. One of our former newspaper delivery boys who has just finished at university came in to use our Post Office so I asked him what he was planning to do next. He told me that he had landed a job with EDF Energy in the nuclear power division and was looking forward to starting soon.

At the same time another customer was being served on our shop counter who had told me earlier this year that he had been a project manager at Sizewell B during its construction. What a small world!  So I took the opportunity to introduce the two.

Apart from the surprise of having two people with an interest in nuclear power at our counter at the same time I was delighted to give our former employee a potentially useful addition to his network. I think that knowing our customers is key to operating a successful community based shops.