Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Great Recession

Leading indicators; trailing indicators; pundits that say one thing; pundits that say the opposite, who is to know what’s what when it comes to the state of our economy? One thing is for certain, for most people alive today, we can all agree we’ve not seen nor lived through times like these before. And, almost all of us were either directly affected in one way or another adversely, or we know someone who was.

Is the worst of it behind us? Seems like more pundits than not suggest this is the case. Yet, the average person may not agree. As a business owner, both personally and professionally, I sure hope the worst is behind us. Though I may have rose-colored glasses on, they are decidedly mute. I harbor no illusions of things coming rushing back as quickly as things fell apart a few months ago.

Unlike some, my business is still standing. I believe it’ll be standing for many years to come. There are a handful of practices—all in place well before the economy took its dive—which I credit for getting my business through to this point.

Having a product or service that addresses a consumer need is more important than ever before since discretionary incomes have been hammered so hard recently. Having a location that is easy to find and access helps. Providing operating hours that are convenient should go without saying.

Every business owner would like to believe that his or her products are unique and not available elsewhere. But, for the most part, that simply isn’t true. And, these same owners want to believe that they offer the best value proposition. The truth is that the internet has become the great equalizer making it much easier for the consumer to find the exact product they want and get the best price, too. So when it comes right down to it, there remains but one critically important means for one business to set itself apart from all the others. And that is…

Customer Service

To many, the term “customer service” seems worn out because it’s bandied about so often. Sadly, to some, the term comes across as an oxymoron. The fact remains, the best way for one business to set itself apart from its competitors is by standing above the pack through how it treats people from curious prospects, through first-time buyers, to repeat buyers and beyond. Customers grow increasingly savvy by the day. I believe they can see through supposed customer service practices that are anything but customer friendly.

For us at Relax The Back, we quantify “customer service” in the following ways: 1. Greeting—whether when calling or walking in our door, we’re glad to see you and we try hard to convey that with a prompt and courteous greeting; 2. Discovering needs—ours is a specialized set of products addressing specific needs and it’s our job to find out each person’s unique situation so we can find the best products to match those needs; 3. Education—for us, it goes way beyond just filling orders over a counter, we want everyone who visits us to come away with a better understanding of what our products do and how they address their unique needs; 4. Presentation—our products are designed to promote proper postures which, in turn, can help resolve both acute and chronic pain. We don’t leave customers to wander aimlessly around the store, we’re glad to spend the time necessary to make everyone feel the relief that comes with correctly selected, high quality products; 5. Follow-up—It is our goal that every customer be completely satisfied with their purchase. Our highly trained associates are available to our customers after the sale to ensure satisfaction as well as to address any questions or concerns.

It may sound trite, but to us, “old-fashioned” customer service is our hallmark. We aren’t perfect. Though, perfection is the goal. If you—or someone you know—suffers back pain (or simply wants to avoid back pain), please give us a chance. We’re the original, and only, Relax The Back store in the Valley. We’ve been serving customers from Central Phoenix since 1994