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The Employee Difference

Anyone who has ever set foot in a warehouse store knows that as soon as you walk in, you’re greeted by huge, plasma screen TVs, camera displays and computers. So one would think assume that these businesses sell a ton of these products to every shopper, right? Well, maybe not.

The NPD Group, an organization providing consumer and retail information, just released a report showing that only 14 percent of consumers shopped at a warehouse store in the past year, and only 10 percent of that figure purchased electronics. Why such a low amount? According to Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis for The NPD Group, the two biggest reasons are lack of service and too few knowledgeable salespeople.

“Consumers have confidence in the products being sold, just not in the people selling them,” said Baker. “But buying through these channels is a trade-off between low prices and low levels of service. As products get more complicated and interconnected, getting good, reliable customer service is going to outweigh getting lower prices for some consumers.”

All in all, this is great news for small businesses. It’s just one example that confirms what we all believe—stellar service and knowledgeable employees make your business stand out and will keep your customers coming back. 

Of course, this isn’t just true for electronics—it’s for selling any product to a customer when he or she isn’t an expert, and your employees are. I recently had to paint my front and back porches, and I had no idea what I needed other than, well, paint. But instead of going to the huge store with the orange sign and hard-to-find employees, I went to my local hardware store. The guy who helped me was a bit of a curmudgeon and almost refused to sell me paint because he didn’t want me applying it too early in the year, but he also hand-picked for me all the products I would need, explained which brands were better and why, and steered me away from making unnecessary purchases. (I also bought a power washer, which died after only one use, but at least returning the product was easy and the charge was credited back to my card immediately.) I doubt I would have gotten the same level of service at a store staffed primarily by teenagers, or at a business where it takes longer to find a salesperson than it would to actually paint the porch.

We all know that good employees are hard to find, but they make a world of difference to the customer experience and to your business as a whole. So once you find them, how do you keep them? Post below and share your strategies for keeping a dedicated workforce!