Hardware Retailing

OCT 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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"We don't have anything that can help you." Customers want problem-solvers. When a customer comes in with a unique request or an off-the-wall project, don't shut them down and send them packing. Take the extra time to find a customer a solution they can be happy with. October 2018 | HARDWARE RETAILING 59 "#$@&%!" Don't use swear words around customers. Just don't. Remember that you're on display for all customers while on the company's time, and even if some language is OK around known and trusted customers and friends, it may make other customers uncomfortable or turn them away. "That's in Aisle 8." Sometimes there's too much happening in the store and you don't have enough time to walk every customer directly to the product they need. However, you should strive to walk with customers to the aisle they need to find what they are looking for. Besides the personal attention, this also allows you the opportunity to suggest related products or look for an opening for add-on sales. "I don't know why we do this, but …" Rentals, returns and delivery situations can all have policies attached to them. If a customer takes issue with a policy you disagree with or where you are unsure of the purpose, don't let the customer know you are unclear about something they will be signing. Find someone more familiar with the policy and allow them to resolve the situation. "I don't think you understand." For many consumers, part of taking on new projects involves acquiring new tools and skills provided by independent retailers. However, you should always work to make the customer comfortable, and belittling their lack of knowledge on a subject will leave a bad taste in their mouth. "Calm down." Almost every retail employee will, at some point, encounter a customer who is beyond the point of rational conversation. The cause could be something related to your business or your store could just be the venue for a customer's venting. Try to empathize with the customer and don't rise to the same level of anger or distress.

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