No Substitute For Service
By Melissa Breau
December 21, 2009

In my new apartment, I’ve had a difficult time replacing the community-oriented businesses I enjoyed in my old apartment. Especially disappointing, considering that I work for Pet Business, has been the lack of a great pet store. Soon after moving, I canvassed my neighborhood, walking for 20 minutes in any given direction. Within this radius, I found two pet stores. One was a store focused primarily on fish—since I only have a cat, not particularly helpful—and the other was a pet store in a small chain.


I am one of those pet parents who spoil their animal. I am an informed consumer who looks at ingredient lists; my cat is a picky eater and I spent quite a bit of effort and time finding choosing a food brand and a treat brand and making sure she thrived on them. This store carries neither of my previous brands.

It obviously benefits from being the only pet store in the area and seems to be doing a good business—every time I go in, there are several customers in the store and often there is a short line (2-3 people) to check out.

Yet I have been very under-whelmed and am considering looking for a pet store closer to my office and trekking it home. I have yet to be greeted upon entering the store; no one has ever offered me help while I browsed the aisles trying to decide what to buy since they didn’t carry my preferred brands. When I asked about the brands I usually buy, no one seemed to know if any of the brands they carried were suitable substitutes or even to be educated on the different brand qualities.

My point is this: don’t underestimate the importance of service. Employees need to be helpful, knowledgeable, and pleasant. Even the small things—a greeting at the door—can make a difference. Make sure you do the small things right. In today’s economy, they can be the difference between making loyal new customers and sending those customers back out to look for your competition.