Your customers aren’t lost… are they?
If you’re in the retail business, how do you normally greet new faces that just entered your store?
A few friends and I recently made plans to go for a tasting at Sake Nomi on a Saturday evening. It is a small sake shop in Seattle that we had been looking forward to visiting. As soon as I walked through the door, the man working behind the tasting bar asked: “Are you lost?” He did not introduce himself or offer any information. After 20 minutes, no hint of customer service was detected, so we left.
From Sake Nomi’s web site:
Saké Nomi is a place to learn about and explore premium Japanese saké, and its brewing culture and traditions, in a convivial, welcoming environment.
The man behind the tasting bar was the store owner, Johnnie Stroud. My experience is now the 17th review of his store on Yelp. My Yelp reviews are automatically shown on my Facebook wall. The very next day, Johnnie sent a message to my inbox on Facebook, titled “Apologies from Sake Nomi.” I wonder why he did not respond via Yelp.
In his message to me, Johnnie explained that he gets a lot of people coming into his store looking for sushi. It seems Johnnie finds this to be an inconvenience. Most companies spend a large sum on marketing just to drive traffic into their stores! There is no excuse to not capture the business opportunity brought by those who are already IN the store.
Hospitality. Over the top hospitality. It is especially important for a business such as Sake Nomi that involves a unique beverage with so much culture behind it. Even if someone enters the store by mistake, it could be turned into an opportunity: “Hey, glad you wandered in! I just opened this great new sake. Here, have a sip, let me know what you think. I’ll go get the info on my favorite sushi restaurant in Seattle for you.
To Sake Nomi, I was one of those potential customers that marketing departments dream of and plot for. I sought out its location. I brought friends with me. I’m active on various social networks. I don’t shy away from spending money on food, drinks and experiences. Unfortunately, Johnnie figured I was lost. As it turned out, he was correct. I’m a customer he lost.
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Tags: Business, customer service, hospitality, retail, reviews, Sake Nomi, sales, Yelp