This next year will be the year of “omni-channel solutions” for retail business, as customers raise their expectation in the retail store and online.
Building Customer Trust as a Lumber and Building Materials Retailer
Providing your customers with average service is costing your business more than you might expect. Why does good service matter to a retailer? Well, it establishes trust, and trust means repeat customers. There are many things LBM Retailers can learn from Home Hardware’s successes in establishing customer trust.
Providing your customers with average service is costing your business more than you might expect. Why does good service matter to a retailer? Well, it establishes trust, and trust means repeat customers. Customers often look at stores reviews before they even get into the car or browse your online store so a few poor experiences can cost your company more than ever before. While negative reviews impact your business for the worse, positive reviews can attract new customer as well. Learning from leaders in customer trust will provide you insight into how your business can better establish customer trust.
Why Home Hardware is the most trusted hardware store in Canada
Home Hardware received 2017 the BrandSpark Most Trusted Award for the Canadian hardware store category for providing a superior level of service to its customers. Home Hardware has been leading the pack in customer trust for decades and offers a good case study for those in the LBM industry.
"Shoppers look to retailers that they trust to deliver great value, strong selection, quality goods, and when online, timely delivery. The BrandSpark Most Trusted Awards give shoppers a chance to see which retailers are trusted by other Canadians," said Robert Levy, President of BrandSpark International.
Customers trust that when they walk into a Home Hardware store they can ask any employee for advice on any product and they will receive valuable knowledge and access to quality products at a fair price. This level of service is consistently delivered from store to store which established the home hardware brand as a trusted brand.
“We are incredibly proud of the accomplishment Home Hardware has made in sustaining a trusted brand over the past 53 years,” says Terry Davis, CEO, Home Hardware Stores Limited. “Home Hardware has an incredible team of people who work together from coast-to-coast-to-coast to serve customers with dependable service and quality products.”
Home Hardware is a master at delivering consistent quality service. Although there are independently-owned stores across the country offering a varying selection of products, they all provide customers with what they need. Knowing your customer needs is one thing, understanding them is what sets Home Hardware brand apart.
How Lumber and Building Material Retailers can Improve Customer Trust
There are many things LBM Retailers can learn from Home Hardware’s successes in establishing customer trust. Customers look for positive personal experience when interacting with staff. They look for responsiveness when they ask a question or have a problem. They also expect that the items they are looking for will be available at a competitive or fair price. All these expectations are reasonable and should work as part of your business.
Consistent and Transparent Service
To deliver the level of service your business aspires to, you need to set internal goals and expectation among your staff which will lead to external results. Train your staff to meet your customer's specific industry needs; your team should know how to meet each customers needs. Every staff member should have an appropriate level of knowledge to provide a consistent level of service and know how to find the answers when they don’t. When staff are properly trained, they can communicate with customers more effectively. This philosophy should also be applied at a high level, when something goes wrong simply address the issue directly, you customer will trust you and the company more.
Stocking the right selection of quality products
Understand your customer's needs and listen to their requests. Keep track of customer requests and adopt a way to track item requests. Frequent or recurring requests may say something about the customers in your area or it may indicate a trend that is arising in the industry.
When customers return items, make sure you track why they weren't satisfied. By keeping return records, you can eliminate any poor quality product from your shelves. Customer feedback is one indicator. Another is your sales. You order stock according to what items sell, so make note of the items you seem to be reordering. If one particular brand of shingles is more popular, you might consider ordering a greater variety of options from that brand. When you do inventory, take note of what is selling and what isn’t. Then evaluate why.
Sourcing the right products
Knowing what your customers want is one thing but knowing how to find them is a whole other task. An effective way to access thousands of products easily is through OrderEase. OrderEase gives retailers access to hundreds of wholesale suppliers and their catalogs. OrderEase wholesale online ordering makes it easier to offer a more extensive selection of products to your customers.