Wowing customers might not be as complicated as you think

Generally our favourite garden retailer is the one that delivers quality products, great value or a compelling brand


Ask yourself, do people remain loyal to your store specifically because of its ‘over the top’ service? Not very often. There may be a few who make a point of returning to a garden centre because it has particularly attentive staff.

Now ask yourself how often do people cut companies loose because of terrible service? All the time. They exact revenge on garden centres who keep them waiting in queues, have a poor selection of the items they want; appear understocked, don’t have a welcoming and comfortable ambience, staff gossiping behind the counter, hold-ups at the till – there’s a myriad of reasons.

Generally we buy from any company because it delivers quality products, great value or a compelling brand. We leave one more often than not because it fails to deliver on the basics of customer service - identifying need and providing solutions.

When it comes to service, garden retailers create loyal customers primarily by helping them solve their problems quickly and easily.

Armed with this understanding, we can fundamentally change the emphasis of customer service interactions. Telling frontline staff to exceed customer expectations is apt to yield confusion, wasted time and effort and perhaps costly discounts.

Telling them to make it easy gives a solid foundation for action

What does ‘make it easy’ mean? Simply, remove obstacles.

Identify reoccurring complaints about your service. Have there been customers who have had to repeatedly contact your garden centre to get an issue resolved for example?

Customers needing to call after trying unsuccessfully to solve gardening problems through incorrect information on your website?

Store services poorly signed for customers and policies poorly communicated or not fully understood by frontline staff? 

Products not priced and benefits and reasons to buy unclear?

Do you recommend best sellers and best products for the job that you know work best for the gardening conditions in your area?

Do you show examples of how easy it is to use products?

Loyalty has a lot more to do with how well garden centres deliver on their basic promises and their ability to solve problems and make gardening appear easy than on how dazzling their service experience might be.