Last weekend I received an email from a new customer about their family’s experience at Fairhaven Toy Garden. It was the email that every retail store owner hopes for.
This is how it read: “Hello, we visited your store and Fairhaven for the very first time yesterday, Sunday 7.22.18. We parked just down the hill and your store was our very first stop with our 7 year old.
Your team was SUPER nice, helpful and fun! We appreciated the approach in showing and explaining many of the toys.
I found (and purchased) some great items and will be back the next time we are up that way. We will also check out your site.
Thank you so much for such a pleasant experience.”
As it turns out, our crew that day was a 16 year old, a 19 year old and a 28 year old manager. While some employers are hesitant to hire young people, we have always made a point to have a staff with a range of ages. Many high school students come to our store looking for their first job. Even college students trying to become more independent come looking for work.
It’s not easy to be a ‘Toy Gardener’ and they quickly learn that working in a toy store is not all fun and games! However, their youthful spirit and eagerness to succeed keeps everyone on their toes. Once trained, they can help customers just as well as their older teammates. They may occasionally need extra direction, but if both the trainer and trainee stick with it, it’s well worth the investment.
Two days later, I had an exceptional customer service experience myself! I went to Ace Hardware in Sehome Village looking for zip ties. A young woman greeted me promptly, asked what I was looking for, and brought me to their zip tie selection. After choosing the size I wanted, I wandered the store a bit and a young man also asked me if I needed any help. I told him that I was just looking to see if there was anything else I needed.
Eventually, I remembered that I was interested in a bell. The perceptive young woman reappeared just in time to check in on me (I think I had that I’m looking for something else look on my face!). I told her that I wanted a system for my employees to use to alert me upstairs if they needed help. She came up with a few ideas and then we settled on a door bell. Soon, the young man was also helping us find their selection of door bells. I settled on a wireless one, which needed batteries, so she helped me find the correct size. They were both happy to help and I left a satisfied customer.
As I left the store, I wondered to myself, “Would I have been as satisfied if I had gone to a big box hardware store?” This thought quickly faded as the memory of the helpful young employees reminded me that this local business had everything I needed.