Q: I run an indoor kids play venue and I am looking for ideas on how to provide an excellent level of customer service. Have you any suggestions?
A: It is great to see a business owner passionate about providing good service. Well done! Great service comes from having an in-depth knowledge of your consumers and understanding their needs. Start by talking to your consumers and asking how you could do things better.
Every week during my Superquinn career I met with a group of customers at each branch for coffee and we would discuss the shop, taking a mental tour from the carpark right through. It was amazing the simple suggestions that customers made which helped us to identify areas we could make changes and make the shopping experience even better.
I would imagine that parents arriving with children will encounter some practical problems e.g. where do they store children shoes while they are playing, can they see their children while in some of the climbing areas through a camera and screen system, how can your staff thank the customers for their business?
You will know your business much better than me, and your customers will know it even better than you. Start at that point and you will come up with the solutions that you need very quickly.
Q: Are there any suggestions you can make to help make the shopping experience more interesting for my customers?
A: One of the areas we concentrated on in Superquinn to help enhance the shopping experience was to create unexpected or add on services for the consumer. Very often on Saturday in our shops some of the colleagues would base themselves in the carpark together with a bucket of water and window cleaning utensils and when customers arrived back to their car they found a spotless windscreen with a little sign which read "While you were shopping, we were washing". The reaction was tremendous and invariably brought a smile to customers' faces.
On busy shopping days we would very often have a member of our team with a basket of apples walking around the exit area and offering people a free apple, again getting a reaction of surprise and thanks.
We also tried to make a big fuss on those important calendar dates. We handed out carnation flowers to every female passing through our checkouts on Mother's Day, we handed out 'Kisses' sweets to every customer on Valentine's Day and some of our managers even ran 'Romantic evenings' where there was all sorts of fun and competitions under the romantic theme.
Whatever you do in terms of events, make them interesting and a surprise. Very often it is the activities that are unannounced that grab the most attention and get the best reaction from consumers.