June 16, 2020

The Customer is Always Right. Or are They?

By Paul Daniels

Last week I was talking to a friend of mine whose son owns a glass shop and I asked him how his son was doing. He told me that his son was terribly upset with his customers calling. Over the last three months he was working to stay busy and now his phone is ringing off the hook with people that need things done right away so they can open their businesses back up. Most of them are asking for solutions that they have seen in stores since the shutdown began. Pieces of Plexi screwed to counters, tables pushed in front of counters, doors held open with ropes, etc. They think they know what they want, but do they?

My friend’s son begins by asking them some questions. Are you aware that glass is less expensive than plastic products? Are you aware that glass is easier to keep clean and will hold up to constant cleaning? He assures them that tempered glass is a strong rigid product that is safe to use around customers. In most cases it is quickly available. Now educated, most customers go with glass.

When you are dealing with customers that are focused on just getting their business open you will help them and gain a friend by letting them know how they can do it in a way that will enhance their business, be more permanent and hold up over time. You may want to explain that you can get glass with coatings on it that will make it easier to clean and maintain. A good practice is to print out some cut sheets of partition posts, glass clamps and channels that can be used to hold the glass in place and bring them to show your customer what products are available. In some cases, you may want to suggest they install sliding office partitions that can open to accept deliveries more efficiently.

I was standing in line at a gas station last week to pay for a car wash. Being 6 feet from the counter, I noticed that the customer in front of me was directed to a different cash register because the shield in front of the one we were in line for didn’t have enough space underneath to pass the product through to scan the bar code. It’s a good idea to ask the customers what size items they may need to pass through a partitioned area before you measure the job. If they want the partition to go to the ceiling, will they need a speak through?

If you are working on some new storefronts you might want to mention adding a second exit door spaced away from the entrance door, one to enter and one to exit. This will change the flow of people in the business which, I believe, is becoming a part of the new normal.

When customers call, you want to let them know that you are a solutions provider. Your expertise and experience in the glass industry is what they are paying for and it will help you stand out from the crowd for future business.