Let me tell you a story about why many small businesses fail…
Owning several retail locations myself, one of my biggest pet peeves has been sticking to advertised hours. After all, a customer that shows up when you’re Closed – if you don’t make it KNOWN you’re closed (Google, FB, social announcements, website, etc.) – will be disgruntled at the time and energy they just lost making a special trip to your business.
That’s why I’ve been a stickler about our retail hours being adhered to… as much as possible. Now, obviously emergencies DO happen, including inclement weather. And in that instance, no matter where I was, I’d hop on my phone (stop the car if I’m driving) and make a quick post on all our socials letting customers know about the situation. (Also it’s just raining today – no snow or ice.)
Once – ONCE – in FIVE YEARS I had an issue with Google not updating our hours correctly. And that was during the big C in 2020 when the whole world went to sh*t, so that was excusable.
There. Is. NO. Excuse. for NOT letting customers know when you have a significant change in your hours in ALL manners possible. That’s just plain lazy.
So why the soapbox today?
I’ve been told by several of our customers to check out a somewhat local shop because we’d love it. Hubs & I were prepared to do some serious shopping there, and those that know us know that if we like a place, we become “regulars.” I’d researched this store online and it looked awesome! I could see us spending hundreds – even thousands of $$ there over time.
So in MY hectic holiday season of retail, I planned over a WEEK in advance to go there this morning when they opened at 10am. At least, that’s what they advertised.
NOTE: This shop is NOT close to us. In fact, it’s in the middle of freaking nowhere so it’s not really close to ANYONE. The fact that it looked awesome was the ONLY reason I’d go 25 minutes out of my way during our busiest season of the year.
I may NEVER GO BACK.
Why? After plotting, planning & even killing time somewhere else until they opened so we could spend the morning shopping there… THEY WERE CLOSED!!! What’s worse – the guy acted like he didn’t even care that we’d made the lengthy trip out there… just to GIVE HIM MONEY. We were PREPARED to spend!
He said they didn’t open until noon, that their PREVIOUSLY ADVERTISED HOURS of 10am didn’t officially start until “December 1st” (tomorrow). BULL. SHIT. I’d looked those hours up over a WEEK ago. They didn’t just suddenly change – he just never got around to updating Google, ALL his socials, etc.
He then said something about security being installed this morning so he couldn’t let us in. Fine. So why didn’t he schedule that for the 2 days/week he’s closed? Obviously poor planning.
He also said they were “working on” getting the hours on Google updated. Ummm. I have SOPs for that. It takes less than FIVE MINUTES to update ALL platforms: Google, our website AND Facebook. So in other words – he forgot. And made excuses like somehow it was Google’s fault. PET PEEVE TIME: TAKE F-ING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR MISTAKES and I’ll have grace & understand! I have no grace for not giving a shit & acting like your CUSTOMERS are ANNOYING YOU.
How do I know it only takes a few minutes to update hours? I got back in the car & after mapping our way back home looked him up again. The hours had MAGICALLY changed to be open at noon… even though right when we got there they still reflected 10am. Two. Minutes. That’s all it took.
NOTE: Facebook STILL has their hours as 10am.
So the lesson here? If you have brick & mortar & want LASTING, repeat customers, do something simple and let them know when you’re available to take their money! It’s NOT. THAT. HARD! And if you’re of the mindset that you’ll be open whenever you damn-well please and customers can just “deal,” well, get out of the brick-and-mortar business. You’re not cut out for it.