If you care about customer service, use the products and services you sell. The best way to learn about something or know it intimately is to use it. As a ski shop owner, your website is one of your products (your ski shop is too!) Nothing says poor customer service like a website that doesn’t work and a staff member, manager or owner who is not familiar enough with it to help the customer when they call.
Do they care about customer service?
I spent the last 2 weeks travelling so I am going to relate this to something I frequently encountered in my travels – rest area bathrooms. What matters most in your travel experience? The availability and cleanliness of public restrooms to use! How often do you go to a public restroom and it is immediately clear that the only people who set foot in those areas are the people who clean them – and they clearly don’t care about your overall user experience or customer satisfaction. They care about getting the job done they are paid to do – making the bathroom appear ‘clean’. Notice I said appear clean.
I hate when I go into a restroom and :
- The bolts on the toilet seat aren’t tight, so the seat moves to the side when you sit down.
- Every other sink or automatic soap dispenser does not work. So you have to walk from sink to sink to sink until you find one you can use.
- The paper towel dispensers do not dispense a usable size piece of paper towel.
If management actually used these restrooms, they would notice these things, be annoyed as well, and fix them. All these little things contribute to a less than optimal customer experience.
How is a ski shop like a public restroom?
A ski shop (and your website) is like a public restroom in that people go there and expect a certain level of customer service. As competition gets greater, the level of customer service you offer can differentiate you from your competitors. It can be one of your unique selling propositions. The best advice I can give any ski shop owner or manager if they want to offer the best customer service they can – use what they sell. It is truly the only way to thoroughly understand it and make sure you know every aspect of it.
So first and foremost, use your website. Make yourself a customer account and go on your site and search for items. Search for items you know are there and items you know people want that are not there. See what happens. Put items in your cart and proceed to checkout. Actually go through and check out. With mosts sites you can set up fake payment methods like a check or set up a promo code to use so your credit card will not be billed. But maybe you should completely check out too – so you know exactly what your customer experiences when they visit your website. And should they ever call and need help you will know exactly what they are going through. Don’t be satisfied with a once and done either, use your website frequently, so you stay familiar with how it works.
Oh yeah, if I can offer you one other piece of advice – use your rental skis too! Just randomly pick a pair that is your appropriate size and are tuned they way they would be to hand to a customer. Do you like what you feel? I hope so.