I've been in the pawn business for over 20 years and you better believe that I've seen my fair share of unhappy clients. The first time you're faced with an upset customer, it's a lot to take in. Even the most experienced brokers will have their hands full when it comes to a really disgruntled customer who thinks they're in the right. Throughout my history in this business, I've learned a few ways to diffuse a situation and help both the customer and shop owner come out feeling satisfied, reassured, and respected.
Every day we hear stories about vendors not helping their clients, not calling them back, and a host of other very frustrating and disappointing things, all of which are negatively impacting peoples' businesses. The Data Age/PawnMaster brand, company, and suite of products have been known for being world-class for the past thirty years. We always sit back and analyze how to improve. I recall an event held at the Ritz Carlton a few years back. I was walking to my meeting and in the hallway I saw three Ritz Carlton employees on their knees highly focused on removing a small piece of gum from the carpet. At first I said for the amount of money a room cost I would expect this but the establishment provided great value in so many areas. They don’t need to roll out three people to get a tiny piece of gum that cannot be seen removed. This is their strategy to customer service excellence and overall user experience. Let me be clear, customer support is a strategy that many miss the mark on in a big way.
For a busy pawnshop, the speed at the counter directly translates to dollars earned. Customers expect to walk in with an item of value and walk out with cash in the absolute minimum amount of time. The faster the shop can write loans, take payments and make sales, the more customers they will be able to serve per day.
Lately, it seems like pawn software companies have been putting hurdles in place to slow you and your employees down when writing a loan only to benefit themselves. They make you enter information for items that isn’t needed. You have to describe every item as if it is expected to default and be posted to an online auction.
Competition... What is it? Someone else that does what you do? Do they do it better? Or are they just another company in the same field or on the same street.
Don't sweat competition; I try to never sweat competition. There will always be competition and sometimes I admit I don't like it (I'm not perfect).
However, I worry more about what I'm doing for my clients and my company start to finish day in and day out. So many people get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing or saying that they forget about themselves and what they have on their own to-do lists.
Many of you may know me or have chatted with me over the years. As the Director of Operations, I get the chance to connect with many of our clients. Closing in on 3,300 customers here at Data Age means I get the chance to hear so many success stories and how many different ways our brokers operate their businesses. There is no one way to operate a business, we know that here. That's why our approach is to offer the flexibiliity to mold everything we do around tailoring each of our products and services to help drive our customers’ success.
There are many similar traits and characteristics when comparing sports and business. I'm not a fan of Coach Belichick’s team, but I am a huge hoodie fan and follower. This is one of the best and longest interviews he has ever given and when you sit back, listen, and absorb, it just makes sense. His approach to the sport is business-like, and his strategies and tactics can be transferred into any business practice, especially around leadership; Getting the most out of your team and the ability to constantly employ situational awareness involves adapting and overcoming.
Consistency, consistency, consistency... Let’s face it, customer satisfaction is what it is all about in business. Your customers are your business and your life. Over the years we have learned and grown in this area. In the five years I have been with Data Age we have focused all our energies to ensure the customer satisfaction levels and experience were top notch. Successful businesses have to also have an open mind, broad shoulders and willingess to hear things that are not great about their business. We have done just that and appreciate the feedback given to us. We view this feedback as an opportunity to get better. This continues today when customer satisfaction and brand loyalty is at an all-time high.
The Data Age Technical Support Team has earned world class status now for many years running. As customers and many new prospective customers come to our offices, the first thing they highlight is our Tech Support team. This 15-person team allows Data Age to help our customers very fast. No worries about not getting called back and not having your issues resolved. Most of the calls we take our “how-to calls”. We feel these calls are great opportunities to advance continued education and to learn more about our customers.
We're always looking for ideas to provide useful tools, rather than only traditional sales materials for our customers and prospects. I’m sure you most of the industry knows these by heart, but we thought your customers might like to use it for reference if their mom, husband, wife’s birthday is coming up and they’re just browsing your store, unsure of where to start.
What else can we create, that you would be helpful either for you and your staff, or to help you sell more to your customers? Let us know in the comments below!