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16 Giftware Review July/August 2014 www.giftwarereview.net Business advice


‘Converting your customers into fans’


The promise of top tips from experts in retailing helped make this year’s annual meeting of The Giftware Association one of the best attended in recent memory. The economy might be improving but it’s still tough on the High Street and bricks and mortar businesses have to be at the top of their game to survive, members heard. But there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic and with the right products combined with excellent service, gift shops can have a bright future.


People make a difference


Good service can seriously improve your annual turnover while failure can lose you customers - possibly forever. Retailers simply have to get it right or lose out. The stark warning came from


Jennie Lambie (right) principal consultant at The Lambie Gilchrist Consultancy and a specialist in business development, training and mystery shopping services. She said: “For a lot of companies,


customer service is that ‘nice to have’ thing but we see it as a business imperative. It is known 86 per cent of customers quit doing business with a company because of a bad experience – up from 59 per cent four years ago. Very few organisations are selling something which,


particularly to family run businesses or small to medium sized enterprises where people are so close to the business they can’t bear to hear anything of a constructive or negative nature. “When we mystery shop –


for which we charge a great deal of money – we guarantee to make you more – and yet still some businesses won’t listen.” Jenny’s company offers


training and development


forgive me, you can’t get absolutely anywhere else. Therefore, if there is a choice that means service is more important.” Mystery shopping is one


...look for


design-led at trade shows...


of the best ways to establish how well a company is doing in terms of customer service but Jenny said some bosses were reluctant to accept guidance. She said: “We find one of


the most difficult things is delivering the feedback,


intervention following a mystery shop. One small independent retailer saw a ten per cent increase in sales in one quarter following the training. A large multinational realised a 34 per cent rise in turnover where Lambie Gilchrist undertook merchandising, display, customer service and sales training. Mystery shopping on a Monday


morning was an education, said Jenny. “That’s when there are lots of mugs of tea and chatting about how the weekend went. I find it fascinating that I can sit and tell people who own that company – who make their living from that company, who have a mortgage for that company – what their staff are up to at the weekend and what they did. A lot happens over a cup of tea and it’s amazing how many conversations


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