Customer Service and the Art of Home Renovation

Recently we purchased a new house and embarked on a renovation adventure.

Which meant an awful lot of time spent at home-improvement superstores.

This presented a unique opportunity to develop a deep relationship with a few locations.  As we started on our home improvements, it required many trips to a select few retailers, and in all honesty, there have been many days when I was in the same location several times.  But in my defense, anyone who has ever done a complete home reno knows that you never, ever, ever, ever get everything you need on the very first trip.

This meant many trips back for fittings, screws, miscellaneous tools, and of course lots and lots of energy drinks.  It’s a shame they don’t sell patience next to the circular saws.

As I visited the same stores over and over again, I begin to see some themes and motifs in their overall style of service. Since I was embarking upon an endeavor with which I have very little experience (and even less patience) I was a very needy Guest.  Being an absolute novice in the area of home improvement, that meant that I was relying on the expertise of those in front line service positions and this gave me a unique perspective into the Customer experience.

I found myself walking in the shoes of the lost Guest in need of help many times and that reminded me in a deep way why it is so important to keep an eye out for Customers in need of assistance.

Throughout my journey, I found that while the products were top shelf, the service was spotty. I had some stellar experiences with certain retailers and with others I found them in need of a service recalibration.

I want to share with you a few of my key findings in hopes that you can take it to heart and make your Customer experience even better. I can tell you that I learned a lot about what it takes to deliver Customer service on the front lines to those who are in need of additional assistance. I think it is always so humbling to find yourself in need of help and to ask yourself how a Guest in need of similar assistance would have been treated in your business.

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So here are some tips that I learned during my weeklong home improvement adventure:

Please don’t let your associates chew gum. 
It might seem like such a little thing, but goodness is it a distraction.  There is something so tacky about Associates chomping on gum like Flo from Mel’s Diner while you are trying to have a conversation chomp chomp with them chomp chomp!  So make it a point to let your team know that gum has no place on the sales floor and keep an eye open for those who continue to chew away.

Be mindful of how you give directions.
When giving directions to items in your business (especially when your Guests looks lost) don’t just give direction or point, walk them there when ever possible.  That is a great way to be sure that your Customers find what they need easily.  Remember that it is frustrating to get to the right aisle but then still not be able to find the exact item.  Close the deal by staying with them until they have everything they need.

Avoid “No Problem.”
Use a polite closing phrase such as “my pleasure” or “you’re very welcome” as opposed to “no problem,” “cheers,” or “no worries.”  There is nothing wrong with being super polite and a little formal.  Now, there is a fine line between stuffy and polite, but when it doubt err on the side of being over polite rather than informal.  When you say things like “no problem” it makes y0ur Guests wonder if there could have been a problem.  We all want to be hip, but don’t take informality to ridiculous levels.

Know where things are in your business.
There’s nothing more frustrating to a Guest than having someone give them directions only to find out that they had no idea where the item was either.  Be sure that you and your team are not only very methodical about how your business is organized, but also how to give crystal clear direction on where thing are – but like I mentioned before, that is easily solved by walking your Guests to items whenever possible.

Organize your store to make sense to the consumer.
As a business owner or expert, you may well have a great idea about how thing should be laid out in your location. That said, however, you need to think from the Guest point of view when laying out your store.  Grouping like items together makes sense and as you place items on shelves, ask yourself “if I was a Guest, would this make sense?”  Don’t over think it but rather make sure when Customers search your business for items that they are organized in a logical way.  Think about the peanut butter next to the jelly and the chargers near the phone display.

The lessons were clear:  Taking time to look at things from the Guest perspective and always looking for ways to simplify the process for Guests are great ways to drive success and loyalty.

And where are we with the reno you might ask?  Well right now the paint is drying, the movers are loading, and its just about time for a well deserved cold beverage.  But soon enough the new studio and office will be up and running so we can continue to talk about treating Guests like cherished friends.


Tony Johnson
Customer Service Expert | Author | Trainer | Speaker

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