Be The Nice Guy - It'll Pay Off

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A friend of mine recently stopped by a local sporting goods store that was going out of business. He wanted to buy a tent, but none were on display. So to see what one looked like, he took a tent out of a box that appeared as if it had already been opened. If he liked it, the tent was a good deal: regularly $200, it was on sale for $65. Well, he thought it was OK, but wanted to see another model, so he started to open another box, but before he could, the store manager and another employee barked at him: "You can't open that!" Startled, my friend explained that he just wanted to see what the merchandise looked like before purchasing it. The manager continued to upbraid my friend. Not wanting to cause trouble or give the manager justification for his inappropriate behavior, he promptly left the store as soon as the manager walked away.

Granted, this is abominable service, but it illustrates why customers will choose to shop at your store if you provide good service β€” even if the prices at your small retail store are higher than those at the big box down the road. Since we so often receive uninformed or even downright rude service these days, when you have knowledgeable and sincerely friendly salespeople who treat customers with respect, that will bring shoppers back time and again.

Exceptional service will be even more crucial this summer when customers complain about how much more expensive chlorine is. It's hard not to notice when something costs up to 30 percent more than it did last year. Perhaps you could alleviate some sticker shock by informing customers about the increase before they stop in or get their next service bill. Either way, if your customers like you and the service you provide, they'll most likely continue to buy chemicals from you β€” especially if you explain why yours are better than what they can buy at that mega-mart outside of town. Pool owners appreciate quality products and people, and they're usually willing to pay for them.

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