Your new customer service and growth strategy: Add enthusiasm, smiles and frendliness


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I received an email the other day from Stacey across at The Wow Awards letting me know who their finalists were this year. You may remember that I have mentioned them on the blog before in The Wow! Awards – The missing key to employee engagement and great service? and was lucky enough to interview their head honcho Derek Williams back in April in Customer Service, Customer Experience and Measuring How Your Company Feels: Interview with Derek Williams of the Wow! Awards.

However, this is not a plug for The Wow Awards although I do think the work they do is great. No. What caught my eye was that Richer Sounds, a UK high-fi and electronics retailer featured in the list.

What I found great about this was that I bought one of my first pieces of hi-fi equipment from Richer Sounds about 20 years ago and it heartens me that they are still at the top of their game. They have been around for over 30 years now and are the UK’s biggest hi-fi retailer trading from from 52 stores, with 10 in London alone. Also, recently the BBC reported that Richer Sounds was named as winner of the Which? High Street Shop Survey, 2011.

But, it’s what they do and how they do it that makes them different and worth paying attention to. If you haven’t read Julian Richer’s book: The Richer Way that explains their business philosophy then I would highly recommend it. I read it about 15 years ago and found it inspiring with its focus on staff and customers and Julian’s belief that if they focused on those two things then profits would flow.

Some of the things that they do that make them stand out:

  • Sales staff are chosen for their enthusiasm and friendliness rather than their sales skills. Friendliness is a core component of their winning approach.
  • They encourage everyone (both customers and employees) to let them how they could be doing better by asking for their feedback, positive and negative. But, it’s the neat way that they do it by attaching a simple questionnaire to every receipt that is so effective. Also, Julian himself responds personally to any negative feedback.
  • They also have an employee suggestion scheme that is widely acknowledged as being one of the most successful in existence in terms of the number of suggestions that they receive per employee.

It seems to me that great ideas, leaps forward in service and sustainable company performance doesn’t have to come from the newest companies, start-ups, latest systems, technology and processes but that the simple (some would call them old-fashioned) things such friendliness and service with a smile etc are the keys to great service, popularity and success and that price is not as big an issue as we often think. As Joe Lynam reports in the BBC clip (link here again):

“The interesting thing about this survey is not who finished in the Top 10 or the Bottom 10 but the fact that price played such a small role in deciding which shops were preferable. That’s interesting given the straitened times and the fact that we have a lot less money to spend on the High Street.”

Is it time that we stop looking for the next new shiny object to add to our business to improve its performance and get back to basics?

Thanks to bfraz for the image.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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