Social media has become such an important part of customer service. And not only for intercepting customer questions and issues but for connecting with other great customer service experts! There are many retail gurus out there to follow but one of my favorites is Nicole Reyhle from RetailMinded.com. She’s so relatable and her content is always on point! I was lucky enough to chat with her and ask her a few questions regarding her business and passion for retail!
I read that your first job was at Nordstrom and you begged your parents to let you work there. What was it about that store that made you want to work their so badly?
As a 16 young girl, I already knew I wanted to work within the business of retail. Having spent countless afternoons in and out of stores with my mother and two sisters, I always felt as if Nordstrom stood out among the rest. My experience in their store was just that – an experience. It wasn’t just “shopping”, but rather an experience from start to finish. When I was ready to get a part time job, I wanted to work there simply to learn from what I believed at the time to be the best retailer I knew of. I still consider them a strong retailer in delivering customer service and an experience beyond just shopping. I also feel as if their commitment to training a young teenager really shaped my entire retail personality and genuine care for the business.
It seems like you’ve always had a passion for retail. If you could go back and give your younger self advice when you started out, what would you tell her?
What a great question! I have always enjoyed retail, yes. When I was younger, my mom loved shopping so I was introduced to retail at a young age. The funny thing is, I always looked at it from a business and operations perspective vs. just shopping. I suppose I would tell myself as a young girl to try and experience more types of retail stores. During that point in my life, I spent most of my retail days in malls and big box stores. I would have loved to experience more mom and pop stores and other shopping experiences. We had a great downtown district in the town I grew up (Libertyville, IL) but kids would spend most of their time in the mall. I definitively wish someone told me then to enjoy the unique character of independent stores back then. I could have learned a lot working at some of them, too!
You speak mostly to small businesses and indie stores, but what is one big name brand you feel does customer service right?
Nordstrom, definitely. But I also think Trader Joe’s does a great job. Both of these retailers, though very different, have character and personality embedded within their brands that customers enjoy and appreciate. Their staff is trained to be friendly, welcoming and supportive of their customers. It shows and makes a difference in their sales, I’m sure.
If you had to give one tip to a small retail business starting out what would it be?
Don’t trust yourself to know it all. Accept that there is a lot to learn and always will be, even as a seasoned retailer. Be willing to work with outside companies to support yours, as well. Many wonderful companies like SnapRetail and countless POS companies exist to better support you in your success. Embrace them to help your business grow.
You have a huge presence online, on Twitter & with your digital magazine, Retail Minded! How has social media helped you grow and how do you think businesses can utilize it for themselves?
Retail Minded is both a print and digital publication, but we reach most of our readers digitally. Social media has definitely allowed Retail Minded to grow and gain a strong audience, and I encourage any small business owner like myself to utilize to social media. For me, social media gave me a voice and avenue to share my content. Without it, directing people to RetailMinded.com simply would not be as easy. I love social media and wish I had more time to do it more often and better!
Who are some of your favorite customer service or retail professionals to follow on social media? Let me know in the comments below!