While Gerry Harvey and some others regularly talk down retail as if they want Australians to believe that retail businesses are struggling because of economic factors, the real reason for most retail failures is that the businesses have not served their customers.
Memorable customer service is the most important point of difference a retail business can have, especially a business which does not make what it sells and therefore could have its products being sold by any other business apple to reach the same pool of shoppers.
We call it memorable customer service because it truly has to be that … memorable. So memorable that it is praised by your customers to others.
Good customer service should be the norm, the lowest hurdle any retail business can jump. Memorable customer service, the level of customer service that makes a shopper talk about the experience to their friends, must be the goal and it is the word of mouth from these customers that is a factor in driving traffic growth.
Memorable customer service is just as vital to Point of Sale software companies as it is for retail businesses. Since we own retail businesses as well as our POS software company we see it, live it and reach for it from both sides.
This is why we continue to work hard to encode the ability to focus on customer service in our Point of Sale software. That’s right, retailers using our software have touch points they can leverage using software which help deliver the kind of memorable customer service we are talking about here.
Memorable customer service in retail, just as in a software company like ours, is experiences which exceed expectations, it delivers benefits outside of what you expect even from a good business. In our IT company we compete with big IT companies and small, like us, IT companies. While we want our software to be the point of difference customers notice and talk about positively, it is our customer service which is loved and mentioned to colleagues more. Realising this was an epiphany for us.
We focus on building stronger, better and more valuable software. But we also surround this, completely, with customer service experiences which are the very best of the best. This gives us, and our customers, the best of both worlds. And we love it ourselves.
Given that most retailers do not have products unique to their businesses, delivering memorable customer service is critical to the business plan. Small and independent retailers can do this more easily and effectively than big retailers. From the genuine smile to shoppers to product knowledge to that extra information which helps a shopper get more out of the product purchased than they would have had the purchased the product elsewhere. This added value is the key and it can be delivered in almost any situation and with any product from a stapler through to a high-end road bike.
So, beyond our software and as part of our customer service focus, we seek out opportunities to help our customers deliver memorable customer service. Indeed, this was one topic we covered in the recent face-to-face user meetings we ran in capital cities and major regional centres around Australia.
Gerry Harvey is wrong to complain about factors outside his business causing poor results. He needs to shop his shops and see that the customer service at Harvey Norman is not so memorable. It is not something people talk in in word of mouth. That’s retail death right there. If people come to your shop just because you are cheap it can be taken from you in an instant. If they come to you because a friend praised the customer service their received you are on the road to winning a regular customer.
As a Point of Sale software company, our mission is to deliver constantly improving retail management software backed with memorable customer service and going beyond this with business insights and assistance which helps our retailers themselves deliver exceptional and memorable experiences to their customers.