You may think this is another push for ecommerce and being online and that certainly fits. However all stores, traditional and online, need to think where their customers are and are open when the customer needs service.
Think about where you shop. For example, my grocery shopping is driven by where is the closest store. Unless you provide me, as a consumer, a reason to come to a different store, consumers tend to take the easiest route.
Yet probably an even more important part of “being there for your customer” is driven by the hours you are open. Most of your customer base works from 8 or 9 to 5. Yet how many times has your service department informed a customer that they will be there sometime during those hours. It happened to me just last week. So my choice is forgo the repair, probably not an option, or take a day of vacation.
Look at how many businesses have changed. I can go to my bank from 7 am to 6 pm M-F and Saturday morning. My dentist has similar hours. Getting my haircut can be done 11 hours a day, seven days a week. And I have located an appliance repair shop that does evening house calls for no extra charge. And the list goes on.
This issue of “being there for your customer” begins with understanding who the customer is. The understanding though must include what they want. If I am your customer and like your product or service, I may find a way to continue our relationship. But it may not indicate I am fully satisfied. If a competitor offers something better, I may just give them a try. And if I like what they do and when they do it, you may have lost a customer and not even know why.
So how do you get an understanding of what I want? First, look at your own patterns. You are a customer for goods and services. What makes you happy when you keeping your own business open.
Also, just ask. A one-question survey can slowly gather data and not be considered intrusive. Maybe just run the survey for a week. And leave time between each survey.
Customers lead busy lives. The more you can help them keep control, the more you have gained loyalty and a voice for your business.