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Be Easy To Do Business With

Posted in: Great Ideas, Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators, Marketing & Retail

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Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators

Be Easy To Do Business With

One of the most important keys to success for companies today is being easy to do business with. That ease equates into higher ticket sales and repeat customers. The best way to be easy to do business with is to provide top-notch customer service.

A study by Bain & Company Harvard Management showed that 80 percent of companies believe they’re providing a superior customer experience, but only 8 percent of customers agree.

The best way to find out if you are offering the level of customer service you think you are is simply to ask. Take time to step out onto the floor and ask your customers how their experience has been. Do not be afraid to ask the customer that looks frustrated. If you only ask the customers that are smiling, you will only get the answer you are looking for. As the old saying goes, for every one customer that complains, there is another ten that quietly leave without saying anything never to return. Additionally monitor social media to see what customers are saying about you online and take time to read and respond to customers’ comments.

But, once you collect feedback, be sure to use it to improve your customers’ shopping experience and keep them coming back. Taking action is what drives repeat customers once you have either reached out to them or collected the feedback that you have asked for via some other touch point. Not taking action with information provided to you is a death knell.

You can also create a quick test for certain areas of your business. Recruit and outside party to call into the location and make a request. If you take orders from your bakery or restaurant, for example, have someone call in with a difficult order, then track how many times they are put on hold, how often they have to repeat themselves or how many times they are told “we can’t do that” in one form or another.

Then, use that information to help train staff. It is worthwhile to take time to cultivate an “I can” attitude within your staff. Even if you can’t meet a particular request, staff can provide alternatives. It will increase the likelihood that you secure a sale and it will make customers feel like you’re truly trying to help them meet their objectives. In this time starved world, helping customers meet their objectives may be the most important lesson any of us can learn. Although there is always more time then there is life, we as customers rarely abide by that life lesson.

 

/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here.  

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.