Home' Be : Issue 10 Contents Be: Attentive
The personal touch is everything,
when it comes to small businesses
and their customer service, writes
The theme song to the popular 80s sitcom, Cheers,
Where Everybody Knows Your Name, captured the feeling
of being welcomed and wanted at your local pub.
Cheers, basically, was to those who frequented it, an
extension of the home or family.
Cheers was fictional, but based on real life situations and
scenarios. Fred Hayman, the creator of Giorgio of Beverly Hills
and on Rodeo Drive, was the connoisseur of customer service.
Fred Hayman believed that every person who entered his store
was special and should be treated that way. The Giorgio store
was more like his home. It had a pool table, lounge room with a
working fireplace, a full bar that served customers free drinks,
large comfortable chairs and couches spread throughout the
store for people to sit and relax. When you entered his 'home',
you were treated as a guest and called by your first name.
Salespeople would send you birthday cards, reminders of when
your favourite fashion designers' clothing was arriving or simply
drop you a note to see how you were doing.
An Australian small retail store of legendary proportions was
Georges in Melbour ne. Although its doors closed in 1996, Georges
fashioned its retail ser vice around the likes of Giorgio Beverly
Hills. Customers were often treated to flutes of champagne and
personally escorted shopping around the chandelier-laden store.
Georges was a simple but elegant relationship building retailer,
grandiose in ser vice but small in its physical make-up, a place that
has not been duplicated in Australia since.
The intimacy of a small retail business, whether it is a world
famous fashion house like Giorgio's or a local butcher shop, coffee
shop, chemist or tyre store is directly related to those businesses. It
isn't too often that those proprietors and staff forget who you are; their
businesses and reputations depend on it. In effect customer ser vice is
all they know: do what you can, whenever you can for your 'friends'.
The term usuallyassociatedwiththiskindofbondingis called
Relationship Strength, which is used to describe the relationship
between an organisation, its staff and the consumer. The most
important elements in building a relationship consist of trust and
commitment, leading to a positive result for all who are involved.
This can effectively be accomplished through smaller retail
establishments, as the ease of building long term relationships is
usually less complicated as the organisation regards the customer
on a personal communication level.
This does not mean that large retailers cannot build
relationships as a result of a high level of customer service.
Here in Australia
, David Jo
nes prides itself o
merchandise and a high standard of customer ser vice. In the
mid nineties David Jones initiated two store wide programs. The
Golden Glove Award was presented to the top sales department in
each store for overall cleanliness, presentation and service. The
other programme was a clientele system in which sales people
would have a personal client book with all their customers'
relevant details. Part of the program required all sales staff to
write as a minimum five letters/notes/
cards per day to one of their clients as
a means of developing, retaining and
strengthening customer relationships.
These examples, however, are
rarities among large retailers who are
more often than not more concerned
with merchandise and customer
turnover than long ter m relationships.
This is the reason many large retailers
continue to fail, as they forget about the
one tr ue item that may prevent them
from receivership: their customers.
Small retailers may not be your one
stop shop, but if you don't mind shopping
in one or two stores to get the quality
goods your hard earned dollar deserves,
then go to a place where everybody
knows your name. •
NOTHING BEATS THE
INTIMACY OF SMALL RETAIL
Links Archive Issue 9 Be Issue 11 Navigation Previous Page Next Page