Providing you community with great service will help keep your store in customers’ minds.

The Independent Achievers Academy’s Tan Parsons joined Booker’s Dan Marsden at Serge and Suki khunkhun’s Wolverhampton shop to look at how they do this well.

Tips of the Day

1. Get to know your customers. You can learn so much from them about what to stock

2. A store community board is a focal point for the community – it’s a way to link with schools and put your customers in touch with other local businesses

3. Being part of the community is good for business – make sure you have the right range to appeal to customers once they are in your store

Serge and Suki’s work with the community begins outside their shop, where they have installed metal rings for customers to tie their dogs up safely. “We have a lot of pet owners in this area and it’s
something we know they appreciate,” says Serge. Dan says this is a great idea because it’s simple, but makes shopping easier for customers.

Extra parking spaces that the council put in opposite the shop have also made life easier. These were the result of a campaign kicked off by Serge inviting the local councillor to look at
his shop and the narrow road outside several years ago. “It’s always good to know your local councillors,” says Dan. “They can put you in touch with the local MP and they’re a sounding
board for ideas.”

To advertise their competitive promotions, Serge and Suki drop off 2,000 leaflets every month. The children who deliver them are often the sons and daughters of their customers. “You’re building a link with
members of the community,” says Dan.

“It’s so important to listen to what your customers want,” says Suki. Dan adds  that it is worth keeping a book behind the counter so that when customers ask for something you don’t have you can keep a note.
He says: “If a few people ask for something it may be worth stocking. That’s something you can do that the multiple retailers don’t.”

To reward customers for their loyalty when the shop was being refurbished, Serge and Suki held a hog roast. Serge says: “We kept it word-of-mouth, because we wanted it to be for the people who really know us and are here day-in, day-out.” Dan says this demonstrates a great relationship with customers.

In addition, the business delivers to a nearby residential home. “We take newspapers twice daily,” says Serge, who also supplies products for food parcels for British forces overseas. By supplying goods at a reduced price and contributing half the cost of the parcels, Serge and Suki show that they truly are part of the community.