"How can money be the root of all evil, when shopping is the cure for all sadness..." Elizabeth Taylor
Who started this idea that the customer is always right?
I meet retailers who are so frustrated by that statement.
- There you stand with a customer swearing that the jumper they bought last week was one size but by the tie they got it home and put it on their child the garment had changed size. You want to tell the customer that it couldn't possibly have happened but you know from the slogan that the customer is always right. You just can't bring yourself to say how sorry you are for stocking such rubbish.
- How about the situation where you warned the customer not to freeze the garlic bread because it was best eaten fresh but they did it anyway and now they are telling you that you make lousy garlic bread. You want to tell them they are stupid but then you remember that the customer is always right. The words stick in your throat and you just can't apologise for being a lousy baker.
- And then there's the day that a customer pops in unannounced and wants their hair done right away declaring that she has an appointment this time every month. You know she is wrong and yet you know you are supposed to say she is right. You split in half, dumbfounded at the idea.
And what about a thousand other instances where the customer is just plain outright, clear as day WRONG? How can you go along with 'the customer is always right'?...
WHAM! Unexpected Delight Featured
It seems as though we are constantly faced with the issue of trying to find new customers. Most of us are obsessed with making sure our advertising, displays, and pricing all “scream out” to attract new business. This focus on pursuing new customers is certainly necessary but, at the same time, it can wind up hurting us. I believe our focus really should be on the 20 percent of our clients who currently are our best customers.
Focusing on the best current customers should be seen as an on-going opportunity. To better understand the rationale behind this theory and to face the challenge of building customer loyalty, let’s look at five customer types.
Loyal Customers: They represent no more than 20 percent of our customer base, but make up more than 50 percent of our sales.
Discount Customers: They shop our stores frequently, but make their decisions based on the size of our markdowns.
Impulse Customers: They don’t have buying a particular item at the top of their “To Do” list, but come into the store on a whim. They will purchase what seems good at the time.
Need-Based Customers: They have a specific intention to buy a particular type of item.
Wandering Customers: They have no specific need or desire in mind when they come into the store. Rather, they want a sense of experience and/or community.
My first ever job was in retail. I loved it! Having grown up in the country, treks to town were rare (aside from going to school ... and that didn't count!) so to be able to spend all day every day around shops and merchandise and interesting shop people was heaven.
One of the jobs I longed to do was to sweep the footpath. I know - it sounds ridiculous. But I so wanted that job. Why? Because the boss swept the footpath every single day and it took him forever to get it done. I was convinced I could sweep soooo much faster and better.
What I was missing (at my tender 'know it all' age) was why he swept the footpath. It wasn't necessarily worse than any other piece of footpath outside a shop. In fact, given my druthers, I'd probably have swept it twice a week. Job done. Time saved.
Where goods are sold as seconds, customers may still be entitled to a refund. Just by stating that something is a second or broken does not remove the right to a customer receiving a refund. They cannot claim a refund on the fault that was drawn to their attention at the time of the sale, or if they change their mind about the purchase, but if other faults occur in the product, other than the original fault, they are again entitled to a refund.
Say, for instance, a handbag is reduced and sold as a second because it was dirty.
If the handle of the handbag breaks, within reasonable time of use, then the customer is entitled to a refund.
The handbag was reduced because it was dirty, not because of a faulty handle.
Retailers don’t have to use signs which enunciate their policy regarding refunds/returns, but if they are to be used, then they must clearly state what customers are entitled to. The signs don’t have to be long and complicated – shorter signs can be used as long as they don’t mislead the customer. However, disclaimers printed in small type can be considered as misleading, as customers may not see them.
Signs which enunciate the refund/return policy of a retailer should be positioned as close as physically possible to the entrance(s) to the store. This way, the customer is unable to enter the store and make his or her purchases without having been deemed to be in possession of knowledge of the retailers refund policy.