Rolesville store owner knows customers want excellent service
The J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Home Improvement Retailer Store Satisfaction Study ranks Ace Hardware “Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Home Improvement Retail Stores.” Ace has captured this ranking every year since J. D. Power began surveying the home improvement industry nine years ago.
The study is based on responses from nearly 3,000 consumers who bought home improvement products or services in the previous 12 months. Ace Hardware ranked highest among major retailers with an overall satisfaction index score of 807 on a 1,000-point scale.
The score is based on performance in five areas: merchandise, price, sales and promotions, staff and service, and store facility.
Paul Owens, owner of Ace Hardware of Rolesville, believes that the small, family-owned hardware store is able to survive primarily because of its ability to deliver excellent customer service.
“The way that Ace has to differentiate itself from every other store that sells hardware and the other things we sell is on service,” Owens said. “Those stores – Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Walmart – are so big that they have to do the best they can, but hands-on, one-on-one customer service is not their strong point. They just can’t have enough staff to fill a 100,000-square-foot store full of people. In a world where there are a lot of big box stores, and there are a lot in this area, we have to win on customer service.”
For more than 90 years, Ace Hardware has been known as the place with the helpful hardware folks in thousands of neighborhoods across America, providing customers with a more personal kind of helpful. That “personal kind of helpful” comes from Owens’ employees, whom he knows works as a team.
“I have only about 16 employees here in the Rolesville store,” he said. “Not everybody is knowledgeable about everything, but we have a really great staff that will work together as a team to make sure that the customer gets exactly what they need before they leave the store.”
Owens feels good about Ace’s winning streak, but he’s the first to give credit where credit is due.
“The award is important, and it means that we’re doing the right things. It’s hard to win an award like this, but the award isn’t for me. It’s for my staff,” he said.
“Obviously, the owner or manager has to put the right staff in place and has to do the right things, but when it comes right down to it, the cashiers, the associates are the ones that are interacting with the customers day to day.”
The corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, provides local stores an updated window sign that reflects the years of winning the award, and customers see it as they exit the store.
“It’s great for me to be able to put the sign up,” Owens said, “but my employees are the ones that earned it. I think they take pride in it as much as I do.”