Service Breeds Success
By Callie Hartzell
Published: January 31, 2011

“Can I help you?”

While some shoppers cringe at the very utterance of these words from a salesperson–usually replying, “No thanks, I’m just looking”–I love a knowledgeable sales staff and never pass up an offer of assistance. With my busy lifestyle as a full-time publisher and mom, I need all of the help I can get.

I love to shop, but the opportunity to do so leisurely doesn’t present itself very often these days. Since my time is so limited, I have to have a plan for my shopping trips, and I have to be able to execute it quickly and with laser-like focus. When that focus is interrupted or I can’t find what I need, I depend on helpful salespeople to guide me, answer my questions and get me in and out of the store quickly. 

When a store’s sales staff knows what it is doing and is up to speed on the products the store carries, my life gets much easier and the retailer gains a loyal customer. On the other hand, if a store’s employees are not knowledgeable and helpful, I very often don’t go back to that retailer. 

Of course, I’m not alone. The busy schedule of today’s shopper is making it more important than ever for a pet store’s staff to be accessible and knowledgeable. Sure, there are still some customers, like my husband, who would rather wander around the store aimlessly, instead of asking for assistance, but most people will accept–and greatly appreciate–the help. 

As this month’s cover story points out, a pet store’s success hinges on the quality of the associates on the sales floor and behind the front checkout; and the quality of your store’s staff will often be a product of the level of training that they receive.

With this in mind, pet store owners and operators must commit to building as consistent and comprehensive a staff training program as possible. This means continually teaching them about the pets that the store caters to and the products on the shelf, as well as the right way to interact with shoppers.

After all, you never know when a simple, “Can I help you?” will win your store a loyal customer.