Canada's business magazine for traditional natural health retailers

3 minutes reading time (608 words)

When customer service is not enough

dave fuller customer serviceI am sure that you have suffered through an experience of poor customer service.  One doesn’t have to look far these days to realize that many businesses put low value on treating customers well. 


I am sure that you have suffered through an experience of poor customer service.  One doesn’t have to look far these days to realize that many businesses put low value on treating customers well. 

Recently however, I was working with a retailer on improving their customer service. It quickly became apparent that their customer service was great but their sales sucked! In fact, customers visiting the store would leave and say how nice the people inside were but often they left happy without buying things.  This was a challenge for the retailer who was intent on increasing sales to achieve a profitable business.  

This is a problem that is too common in many businesses.  On one hand, we have owners that think that they have hired staff to sell products.  On the other hand, we have employees who feel that their job is to help customers, or do customer service.  There is a lack of clarity in the roles and responsibilities of each person in the store concerning the contributions they must make if the business is to continue to thrive. 

Let’s be clear: this is not the employee’s mistake.  It is an error of our management!  So, where did we go wrong?

Lack of clarity

The first mistake that most retailers make is not being totally transparent with their employees about the company’s goals and what role they play within the company. Each and every person within the store needs to understand the expectations of their role as employees of the company. 

For example, if we hire someone to “serve the customer,” what does that exactly mean?  Is that person to just walk around the inside of the building and say “Can I help you?”  Is their job to simply put products on the shelves, because that serves the customer?  Perhaps serving the customer means running the till? Or when we say serving the customer, do we really mean ascertaining the customers’ needs and fulfilling them?  Each objective determines the focus of the employees’ responsibility within the business. Which one did you mean when you told the employee that their job is to serve the customer?

Lack of training  

Very few retailers these days properly train their employees in selling techniques. It’s a lost skill and it is costing our businesses tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.  We train new staff how to greet a customer, and smile when we say hello, but we fail to give them the skills that they need as employees to be successful in selling solutions to our customers.   As a result, our businesses lose customers who are leaving without buying, and end up either frustrated, or purchasing from a competitor or online.   

Lack of accountability 

So many owners and managers could reduce their stress levels by simply keeping their employees more accountable.  Sales is no different. When we fail to provide guidelines and expectations and rewards for our staff, we should not be surprised when they fail to deliver. 

My client is working on growing her business through fantastic customer service, combined with a trained sales team.  I will be spending a week onsite with her team training them in sales. I have no doubt that once her team is tuned up, that her sales will grow.  Customer service is a great start for improving our stores, but it doesn’t work if we can’t supply our customers with what they really need.  


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November/December Issue

Editorial in this issue:

CHFA East Wrap-up

We'll be providing coverage of CHFA East, including new product launches, news and photos from the show and coverage of the CHFA award winners.  We’ll have some photos from the fun we’ll be having at our booth.  We’re holding a TIFF-themed event, including a red carpet, a photo wall, swag bags and mini-interviews with “the stars of the natural health industry” (the retailers!)

Follow-up with customers after CHFA East

When CHFA East is over, CNHR can help you follow-up and re-enforce all of your sales efforts at the show by blanketing your target audience from coast to coast.  

I can explain all of the advertising, new product and editorial opportunities available to you to help you maximize your show expenditures and take your sales message out into the field.  Remember: CNHR reaches all of the retailers who attended the show, plus the thousands who didn’t attend!  Think of CNHR Magazine as your only sales person that gets into all health food stores from coast to coast, six times per year.

Book now for 2020, get 2019 rates!

Book your 2020 ad plan with CNHR before December 1 and we’ll give you the 2019 ad rates, plus an extra Product Profile in both CHFA show issues.  (Applies only to half-page ads and larger).

Congratulate the Brock Elliott Award winner

Congratulate the store that wins the prestigious Brock Elliott Memorial Award for Excellence in Retailing in print in CNHR.  Your logo and congratulatory message (for only $450) appear on the page with other vendors, extending your best wishes to the winning store.

Unsurpassed value – Product Profiles

Ask me about our Product Profiles. They are super-effective and super-affordable. Regardless of your company size or advertising budget, you cannot beat the value of a Product Profile in CNHR. Reach thousands of key buyers in stores from coast to coast for only $450 per issue for pennies per reader!

Contact: Candace Sicari - or Katherine Stevens -

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