On my Australian Newsagency Blog I recently shone a light on five back to basics areas of our newsagency businesses. These were issue over which I know that owners like me can make a difference for the good of their business and the benefit of their customers.

By back to basics I mean parts of our business that define us and can separate us from others.

Here, I want to challenge how you are on customer service.

When I speak at conferences and workshops I often ask newsagents what their most important points of difference are. The two most common points of difference voted by newsagents are community connection and customer service. These responses reflect the perception of newsagents. I want to challenge whether, when it comes to customer service, what we really offer is a point of difference.

1.   Do you greet shoppers?

More and more of our competitors are dropping this. While traffic, labour cost and average spend may challenge the financial model of a greeter, the service is a customer service benchmark.

2.   Do you reward loyalty?

If not, you’re not meeting today’s minimum customer service standard.

3.   Do you offer a gift wrapping service?

This may not seem like something that a UK convenience store should do, but you sell gift items like boxed chocolates and bottles of wine, don’t you?

4.   When a customer asks if you have something do you tell or do you show?

5.   Do you bring back-office challenges to the shop floor?

6.   Do you provide product service and care info?

If you sell gifts this is becoming essential to good customer service.

7.   What’s better about what you do compared to those who compete with you?

This last question is the most important when comparing our customer service offering with retailers offering greeting cards, magazines, newspapers, lottery products, stationery and gifts.

There really is nothing truly unique that we sell as a channel so customer service is crucial in attracting customers back. Hence the question: What’s better about what you do compared to those who compete with you? Answer this through positive actions in your shop and you will be known for excellent customer service and returning visits will reflect your commitment.

Newsagents and convenience stores losing customers could be doing so because of poor customer service. It’s something to think about.

We have to challenge ourselves more than our competitors if we are to grow our businesses.

The goal of my series of back to basics newsagency management advice is to get you revisiting parts of your business that you may not be paying enough attention to. This should help improve basket size, drive traffic and get you better engaged with your newsagency business.

You can read the other four parts of the Back to Basics series on Mark Fletcher’s blog:

Back to Basics: Magazines

Back to Basics: Cards

Back to Basics: Stationary

Back to Basics: Marketing