Thought Leadership + Practical Advice

IN FRAME – The Shop, Coolum – Australia


Gaye Williams + David Pocock @ The Shop, Coolum

The word on the street is that The Shop, Coolum is the place to go – for great coffee (we can attest to that!), for great service, and for high quality, unique products. A far cry from your local IGA, this place truly is a step back in time (in a good way!). We stopped in for a chat with Gaye and David, owners of The Shop, to find out more about why they are the talk of the town. Read on to hear their advice on how they put the customer at the heart of everything they do.

Great Customer Rapport Requires A Conscious Effort, But Only Sometimes

It’s mostly the way we are. Sometimes it is a conscious effort because you learn to read people: someone may not look happy, or they may just need to be made to feel comfortable in the surroundings. So, that’s when we make that conscious effort. We have to be in tune with our customers. And usually after the first couple of minutes, they’ve relaxed. That’s when they buy from you.

When The Customer Feels Comfortable, That’s When They Have A Good Experience

It’s all about the way they feel: feeling comfortable, feeling like they’ve become friendly with us, and walking out happy. We want to make sure that people walk out of our shop smiling: that’s our goal. And all our staff live by this.

If They Buy Something 
They’ve Had A Good Customer Experience

If they walk away saying ‘thank you and we’ll see you again’ or if they buy something, you know you’ve 100% succeeded in providing a good customer experience

Treat Others The Way You Like To Be Treated

Some customers can be difficult, but if you continue to be nice, they often turn around. We compare notes and check in with each other over things that have worked with difficult-to-please customers, and it never ceases to amaze us. Even having been in retail as long as we have, you just can’t detect what a customer is going to do or how they’re going to be to you. But often persevering with a challenging customer, and standing by our personality and service ethos, will see them leave the store as a friend; and having bought half the shop!

People Appreciate You Being Friendly And Helpful

We do! When we go somewhere and someone is nice to us and makes us feel welcome, we’ll stop in. Sometimes the product doesn’t deliver and that’s disappointing, but we base our decision on how they treat us when we first walk up. If they’re good to us, we’ll give them a chance. If they’re not, we walk on by.

Location, Location, Location… Doesn’t Matter

Just because your business is different or in an amazing location, doesn’t mean you can treat customers as if you’re doing them a favour. If a customer feels judged or as if the staff are indifferent to them, the opportunity is lost as far as we’re concerned. In our case, we might show up somewhere for a bottle of wine and a chat after work – looking a little dishevelled from the day – and if we experience attitude or indifference, we’re out the door before the order has even been placed.

Staff Must Be Good With People

You can teach anyone to work a till, to stack shelves, but you can’t teach people to be nice. Our staff have brilliant customer service. We recently put a photo of one of our team on Facebook and everyone was asking him where his shop was located! He just looks like he belongs here.

The Team Must Feel At Home In The Business

Our staff treat the shop as if it is their own. They own the customer experience, the service delivery, the issues and where possible, the problem solving. We empower them to make the right choices for the customer, based on our shared values as a business.

Never Stop Listening To Customers

We never stop. Sometimes it can be hard work but you have to keep up with it. No matter what you do, you need to keep improving and looking for opportunities to grow. And your customers are the perfect place to start. And your suppliers – a great relationship with our suppliers is crucial to our business. We love working with people.

And finally…

To Truly Give Good Customer Service, You Have To Enjoy People

Give people a chance. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t judge. Be yourself and give them the experience that they deserve, regardless of their demeanour or attitude. And if they are just rude – kill them with kindness! Lesson learned – I had a man come in to the store for months. I’d always say ‘good morning’ and he’d ignore me. He’d throw his newspaper money at me and walk out. I put it down to him being rude… until I found out he was deaf!

Thank you Gaye and David, for your hospitality, your candidness and your precious time.

Background to this interview:

Holidays. Camping. Two children. Rain. Climbing walls. Lack of sleep. Need coffee.
We entered The Shop after Beanhunting+ the best coffee in Coolum. From the moment we entered, we felt taken care of. After professing to being a coffee snob, David talks me through the origins of the coffee beans he uses (local, love!). Gaye seats the two year old on a chair after noticing him glued to the tele above the icecream freezer. Gaye shifts the furniture around outside so we won’t get wet. Next visit (days later), David and Gaye remember me. Separated from my family and unable to reach them, they lend me their phone. Remembering I’m a coffee snob, David arranges for the local coffee roaster (who is making a delivery, lucky me!) to make me a coffee. Last visit: David makes me a takeaway coffee, then asks if I’ve tried the chai powder that I’ve just purchased. He then makes me a chai latte to try, on the house, all the while teaching me how to achieve the best outcome at home. Cue: interview with top shelf customer experience business!

+ Beanhunter = Customer Frame’s best friend

Sueanne Carr CUSTOMER FRAME Co-founder Superhero

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