Expert pushes service tips at Ace session

Shep Hyken spoke at the Ace general session.

Orlando -- Author and customer service consultant Shep Hyken told Ace Hardware dealers that being helpful means more than just making sales. It means being a bigger part of the community.

Hyken is author of “Amaze Every Customer Every Time,” an analysis and case study of Ace Hardware stores. During the General Session of the Ace Hardware Fall Convention & Exhibits here at the Orange County Convention Center, Hyken pointed to tools retailers can use to beat the competition at customer service.

His advice:

• Act like the owner. “Tell everybody in the stores to act like the owner,” Hyken said. When employees treat the business like it’s their own, customers notice, he said. 

• Owners serve employees. If a retailer wants to be the best place for customers to buy products, it has to be the place for employees to work. “It starts with culture,” Hyken said. “Service has to happen on the inside of the stores as well as to the customer on the outside.”

He pointed to his golden rule of management: "do unto your associates as you would want them to do unto the customer."

• Ask the extra question. Because hardware store customers often don’t know what to ask, a store might need to draw out information from a customer. Asking an extra question is a good way to do that.

• By giving to the community, the community gives back. 

Hyken added: "We want to be so good that if our customer went to one of our competitors and expect the same level of service, the competitor would say ‘that's asking too much.’"



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