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Big-Box Retailers Should Take A Cue From Mom-And-Pops

Have you ever walked into a big chain store and asked for help?

Sometimes, it is one of the most difficult things to accomplish: getting a clear answer that actually answers your question. You might hear, “I don’t know,” “That is always broken,” or “I don’t work in this department.”

Clearly, not the answer a customer wants to hear when shopping or trying to withdraw cash from an ATM.

Have you ever taken the time to compare the way you are treated in different stores? Did it seem like chain stores treated you poorly compared to locally owned mom-and-pop shops? A lot of the time, that is the case.

We try to save time by shopping at chains by getting all of our clothes and groceries at one time in the same place. What do we sometimes get in return? Rudeness, or an employee who can’t answer our questions sufficiently. It is extremely aggravating, but cannot be fixed. That is because chain stores can afford to give their customers less than exemplary service. They know their local customers will come back, and if not, others will.

Then you have your sweet mom-and-pop shops in the local neighborhood that show you undying respect and willingness to help. They are the ones that show just how much they need you. They tell you “Welcome” and “Thank you” in every visit. They will break their backs trying to help you find what you are searching for.

Small local businesses take the time to help every customer in need because they want us to return and they purposely want to show how much more they care for our needs compared to chain stores.

When is the last time you truly saw that kind of passionate helping in a big grocery store or outlet?

My point is, the “big-box stores” could take a few tips from mom-and-pop shops.

They could work on training their employees to better answer customers’ questions. They could train them to answer a question with “No, I don’t know that answer, but I will find out for you,” instead of “I have no idea where that is. Sorry.”

Big-box stores could try to seem a little happier with customers, instead of sounding annoyed constantly. If they did that, their customers would feel like they are being helped without bothering employees.

If large retailers could improve in these areas, then maybe their customers would spend more time praising their efforts in everyday conversation, rather than potentially speaking badly of chain stores for every single time they have seemed to not care about their customers.

While saving us time and money are important to acre-sized stores, it should be paramount that they treat customers with courtesy and respect that’s due to them.

Hannah Davis is sports editor of The Farmville Herald. Her email address is hannah.davis@farmvilleherald.com.