Yikes! Don’t tell me we’re now competing with our local hardware store! – SCN Encourager
Exceptional customer service is the new marketing
You’ll find dozens of experts online who agree about this.
It isn’t as easy, though, to find real-world models of quality customer service in action.
But dig a bit more into the “walk the talk” commitment of Ace Hardware.
Surprisingly, there are some in-the-trenches lessons here for us.
And this is what makes Shep Hyken’s brief article in Forbes worth the effort.
I never realized that Ace Hardware has earned the J.D. Power award for highest customer satisfaction among home improvement stores for 10 consecutive years.
But I know that’s not saying much… coming from me and all, since I’ve only successfully completed a DIY project at home about the same number of times I’ve hit the Lotto jackpot.
Luckily no one made me prove I could pound a nail in straight prior to reading Hyken’s article.
Otherwise I might never have been able to “construct” my own DIY a-ha observations – all directly related to Ace Hardware’s five customer service pillars.
See if they match up with yours.
#1 Using mystery shoppers:
My “duh” takeaway: Ace uses the SAME firm to both train staff and execute follow-up “mystery shopper” experiences.
#2 Easy to do business with:
My “duh” takeaway: When I think of hardware stores, I think of aisles of nuts, bolts, tools and other stuff that reminds me I’d be in deep trouble without my handy younger brother just a phone call away. Ace doesn’t zero on its nuts, bolts, tools and
other stuff. It concentrates on making shopping “easy” for its customers. (How often do we ask, “How can we make this easier?”)
#3 Beyond the “how are you?” greeting:
My “duh” takeaway: Ace employees are trained to spark conversations about the what projects (or needs) customers
have in mind. Customers came in for a reason. Care enough to talk about it.
#4 Product and project knowledge:
My “duh” takeaway: Ace doesn’t want its employees to “showcase” their knowledge. They aren’t trying to impress
customers. They seek to offer helpful ideas and solutions (even at a lower cost).
#5 The “helpful” thing:
My “duh” takeaway: Ace consistently defines “helpful” in its own way – from the customer’s point of view!
Because I don’t get into our area’s Ace Hardware as frequently as my brother, I asked him if he thought Hyken’s article jelled with his personal experience.
He said it did.
He also said I consistently define “totally useless” in my own way, too.
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