There is so much debate about the new reality of retailing that it is easy to become confused. Everywhere you turn there is advice on how to counter customer’s reluctance to spend. We are guilty of that on this website - tidy up your stalls, get an online presence, improve your merchandising etc. etc.
We are told that consumer reluctance is caused by interest rates and the carbon tax, or the attraction of online merchants and a myriad of other causes, many of which we have no control over. So is there a single answer to our problem? Actually there are two. The main answer is getting more customers past our stalls, particularly tourists, but we don’t have control over that. Tourist numbers are the responsibility of QVM management. So what is the one single answer that we have control over?
We are going to stick our neck out and say there is one key element that Queen Victoria Market Traders need to focus on – good old-fashioned customer service – and here is why:
1. We have control over customer service. Many other things we don’t control.
2. We know our products better than most.
3. Customer service doesn’t require a lot of expense – just a bit of extra sweat.
4. This is one area where we have the advantage over large impersonal retailers.
5. Most customers really do want advice and assistance and many customers come to a place like the market just so they can have personal interaction.
6. There are some simple techniques to create happy customers.
7. A happy customer makes us feel good too.
The QVM has arranged Customer Service Workshops which you have probably already been invited to. In the meantime these pages will concentrate on customer service related posts and we welcome your input. Let’s make this a key focus for all traders.