Recently I visited the local shopping mall to grab a couple of items from the supermarket. I go to this particular mall, as over the years I have built a rapport with a number of the traders and I feel looked after. Especially in light of the small business, they all know we run a small business and we seem to look out for each other. I also like the sense of “customer service” I receive when I shop local.
One of the stores that I regularly visit seemed to be very low on stock and lots of “SALE” signs around. This particular store (of a popular and well identified name), has been a very big supporter of Plough Creek Cooking School. Promoting our classes, offering discounts for participants in the classes who went there to purchase kitchen items and would also happily source items I required, at short notice. Generally, I receive VERY good customer service.
“What is going on?” I asked the proprietor. “We were a franchise and the owner of the franchise has decided to not renew any of the many leases around Australia and will take over the running of the stores himself," she replied. “Did you know this was coming?" I enquired “for a short while," she said.
After a long conversation she disclosed that the owner also owned a considerable number of the manufacturing businesses of the common brands that supplied the stores.
My local store owner is now reflecting on what her and her husband will do after this unexpected early departure from their business.
Today, I zipped past the store again and it was chocker-block with stock; large sale signs everywhere and lots of shoppers. I thought it seemed odd and wondered if they were having one more, last minute, stock clearance.
The response from the young woman in the store when I inquired was a brisk “oh we are now corporate and have taken over all the previous franchises. We are here to stay and not going anywhere!” It was not what she said, but how she said it, that caught me off guard. I felt a tad dismissed by her officiousness.The brisk and sharp edge to her voice was not what I expected. Neither were the limited variety of brands and stock-lines now lining the walls.
In one short response, the aura of that store changed so much for me. I did not feel the same sense of customer service and I felt cranky when I left having purchased nothing. I started to analyse the way I felt and started to wonder if I was just expecting too much to want polite customer service? Do you think it matters or don’t you care about it anymore?
Guess I will be shopping elsewhere in future.