Customer Service and Chocolate – The Ideal Combination

Picture yourself taking over a franchise that had developed a reputation for poor service. Can you imagine how disheartening it would be to have old customers tell you how the previous owner had driven customers away with their poor customer service?

That’s exactly what one entrepreneur found when he purchased a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchise in the Galleria Mall in Glendale, California. Brian Pickett knew that he was going to have to turn around the service that his store was delivering in order to win back the business of lost customers and to develop customer loyalty.

Customers would openly tell him that they could go to the well known and respected chocolatiers of Godiva and See’s Candy to get their chocolate. Pickett seems to have recognized the truth that customers can find your product or service from your competitors. But the best way to win their business and loyalty is through the service that you provide. As stated in previous posts – customers aren’t buying your product, they are buying the relationship you promise them. If you treat your customers poorly, they won’t want any relationship with you at all. They’ll go to one of your competitors who realizes that customer service is what keeps customers coming back.

Brian started out by training customer service skills and making improvements in the store itself based on the feedback he was getting from customers.  He also spent time marketing to patrons in the mall, even other business owners.  He says it took him about six months to turn things around and win back the customers trust.

As it turns out, all of Pickett’s efforts paid off – literally. His revenue increased 25% in 2008 and his current numbers are 5% over last year, despite the economy and less than ideal location. By improving customer service, the customer satisfaction levels increased, thus customer loyalty increased as well.  This ultimately resulted in increased business and profits.  It’s a win-win situation all around.

“It’s all about customer service — treat people how you want to be treated,” Pickett said. “Even if they don’t buy anything, we appreciate you coming by.”

Read the entire article in the Glendale News Press here to learn more about how service, combined with good business and common sense, can turn just about any business around.

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