Sales and Service - Christian Stores

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by rlvaughn, Feb 7, 2004.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    Today I went to a local Christian Bookstore and had this experience - I was looking for particular item, and described what I was looking for. The salesperson responded with "We don't have any..., but we have..." There was never any offer or even suggestion that they might be able to help me obtain what I was looking for.

    This isn't the first time I have had that kind of response at a Christian Bookstore (when I've gone in knowing exactly what I wanted). It seems that, for whatever reason, the salespeople were more intent on making a sale than providing a service. I realize that, just as any store, a Christian Bookstore must make a profit to stay in business. But I also feel that if any retail business ought to be "service-oriented", a Christian sales related store certainly ought to be. I have worked in retail before (lumber and hardware), and, in that case, it was my job to help people find what they needed (if they didn't know), and to find them what they wanted (if they knew).

    I'm wondering if many others have had this kind of experience in Christian bookstores? If so, why do you think it happens? Are the salespeople just poorly trained? Are the owners too focused on sales to be service oriented? Are wholesalers pushing them to sell certain products? Something else?
     
  2. dianetavegia

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    Our Lifeway is managed by a member of our church and one of the ladies that works for him is our Hispanic Minister's wife. I've not ever had them not try to find exactly what I was looking for. They search the computer for me. In fact, I called before Christmas to find out the name of an item that was in their flier. They figured out what I really meant and told me the computer showed they had one left BUT 'let me go and check the shelf because it isn't always right'. 'Nope. All gone. However, they will be bringing in a new supply by this date....'

    Maybe it's because Kevin is such a people person or maybe it's Lifeway. I'm not sure but I've always been very pleased with shopping with Lifeway both in person and online.

    About 5 years ago we were members of a small church that had been robbed by the secretary of all their money. I called Lifeway and told the order taker that I was buying all the VBS stuff myself and could only buy one of each basic item. Could he help me choose the right things that I REALLY needed. 'Hold on please'. 'How many children do you expect? We're going to be sending you out a full VBS supply for X number of children and teachers at no charge. We put aside 10% of all our income to help churches in need. Now, do you need S/S materials? How about hymnals?' We got all our S/S material that year for FREE plus VBS things I would never have bought as director if we'd had money. GREAT ministry! GREAT company!

    Diane
     
  3. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    We have a clinic and natural health products. A lot of time people will see an ad for WallyWorld and want "xyz" to help a problem.

    We probably do NOT carry it, as we have proprietary strength items that typical health stores and discount drugs can't carry.

    So we will tell them (1) we will order what you want and have it in a few days; (2) we have something better and suggest they consider it.

    Helping the patient/customer is always our goal! Cannot imagine otherwise . . but like you, have experienced it often! [​IMG]
     
  4. HeDied4U

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    It's been about ten years since I last worked retail, having worked at then named Family Boookstores. Sometimes when we didn't have an item(s) in stock, and it would take a few to days to get it in via special order, we would call our "competition" down the road to see if they had the item(s). If they did, we'd send them there.

    Sure, we lost a sale, but we liked to think that we were able to minister to their need by helping them find what they were looking for. I still visit the store from time to time, and I see that is still practiced there. IMHO, that's true customer service.

    God Bless!!!

    Adam [​IMG]
     
  5. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    I did the same thing Adam, when I was in retail sales.

    A local Catholic family runs our Hallmark store and they have always gone out of their way to get me what I wanted. The whole back of the store is reserved for Christan books and other Christian items.

    The wife's owner actually brought me a reference book, from her home, to use until the one I ordered arrived! That IS customer service!

    [​IMG] ┬žue
     
  6. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    I think sadly that many time the business of any business is, well, business, Christian or no.
     
  7. just-want-peace

    just-want-peace
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    At one time, I had this terrible urge to go into business for myself. I had no idea what, but just something so I was my own boss.

    Well, after trying to follow the bureaucratic trail to determine all the BASIC paper mountains I'd have to climb, I came to the realization that I would never succeed in this endeavor. (Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, gripes me more than BUREAUCRACY!!)

    Anyway, as I was considering what to get into, I made this startling observation; "It doesn't matter what service/product you plan to sell, IF you give good service, and keep the customer's satisfaction foremost, you have the potential to be a fantastic success."

    I also realized that I have no business sense either, so it's just as well that I never "became my own boss!" [​IMG]
     
  8. lizzybee

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    well I own a business [​IMG] and we won best customer service in our town so I must be doing something right ;)

    but there could be all sorts of things--maybe they truly thought they were being helpful by suggessting something similar or along the same lines--I bet they weren't so intent on a sale that they didnt' care about you--perhaps they didn't realize that you only wanted that one exact item.

    That being said customer service stinks at most places--it particularly annoys me because I work so hard to provide excellent service in our business and it's pretty common sense stuff. However, no one truly cares about the business the same way that the owner does--everyone else is an employee putting in their hours waiting to go home--the owner is building a business and relationships with their customers.

    Then of course, as a human, I've said to my mom "winning that best customer service award stinks because everyone knows it and it can be such a burden!" especially with pushy annoying people :eek:

    Maybe it was a misunderstanding--tell the owner about it and see what happens--you also as a customer have to learn how to demand good service. For example "I only want that particular item, please look it up for me and see how long it will take to get it in" then the clerk realizes that they should do that and will probably offer that to the next person

    rambling now

    Malissa
     

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