Great Customer Service: The Art of Saying No
By George Anderson
It’s a unique approach to selling more goods at retail — tell the customer not to buy something.
It might sound odd, but sales associate Mickey Hopkins’ suggestion that out-of-towner Mark Taylor of the Roanoke Times hold off on purchasing gear for a trout fishing trip to a local lake may have been the first step in making the writer a customer for life at the Greentop Sporting Goods store in Glen Allen, Va.
As Mr. Taylor recalls, Mr. Hopkins told him not to buy anything but instead referred him to an expert on the local fishing waters for advice. “There’s a guy you need to call. His name is Neil Renouf and he’s a Moomaw (local lake) expert. He’ll tell you exactly what you need.”
According to the writer, “Attitudes such as Hopkins’ are among the things that make Greentop special, and why I try to visit the store every time I’m in the Richmond area.”
Moderator’s Comment: What customer service lessons are there to be learned from this case? Do you have a personal experience you can relate where the
service you received from a particular store associate increased your loyalty to that retailer? –
George Anderson – Moderator