Crowder Bros. Ace Hardware Makes a Good Call on Customer Experience

For Tyler Saxey, one visit to his local Ace Hardware store made a huge impact and turned him into a loyal customer for life. Saxey is no stranger to customer service. He currently works in customer experience at Foot Locker, has held several other positions in customer experience and is passionate about a company’s customer experience culture. 

“Often we focus on the negative experiences because it is the easy thing to notice, but I love to look for the ‘wow’ moments, those moments that separate transactions from experiences,” Saxey says. “If I have the choice of services or products from retailers or restaurants, I will always side with the company that has solid customer experience, either at the point of sale or in their customer support after the sale.”

Earlier this year, Saxey needed a new grill and in his research, he found Crowder Bros. Ace Hardware, just five minutes from his house in Bradenton, Florida, had the grill he wanted, and it was also on sale. Saxey says he had never been to this hardware store but was greeted by several helpful associates, including Bob Dannemiller, the general manager.

As Saxey was shopping, he discovered that the store would assemble the grill, deliver it to his home free of charge and even remove the old grill.

“I told them I was in a hurry and would take the grill myself and build it out of the box,” he says. “As I was loading up the grill, Bob asked if I had all the proper connections to hook it up to my gas line. I just assumed I did. He told me to text him a picture of it when I got home and he would see if I needed anything else.”

Saxey texted a photo to Dannemiller, who saw he didn’t have the right parts but offered to bring the parts to Saxey’s house or have them ready to go at the store. Saxey headed back to the store where his parts were waiting. The next day, Dannemiller texted Saxey to be sure the parts worked out.

“From that single interaction and store visit I have now joined the Ace Rewards program, which is awesome, followed their social media sites and made dozens of purchases from them,” he says. “Never underestimate the power of authentic, human and memorable experiences. As someone who has an extremely high bar when it comes to customer experience, Ace just leaped over it and left the competition in its friendly dust.”

Discover four customer experience must-haves from Saxey to improve your own customer service:

  • Show empathy. Consider how would you want to be treated when dealing with a company and treat your customers the same.
  • Make the point-of-sale experience stress-free. Once a customer commits to a purchase, make the completion of the sale as frictionless as possible.
  • Create an experience. Make a customer want to come back to your place of business based on how they feel about your business, not because you have what they need.
  • Follow up post sale. While the whole event with Bob was memorable, Saxey says the most touching part was the text the following week to make sure everything was working correctly. “He had probably serviced hundreds of customers in that space, yet he still took the time to reach out after,” Saxey says. “That was the cherry on top.”

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