Tucked away in a corner of South Surrey, lies the secret that I spent a lifetime in retail trying to capture.
Throughout my career, I understood the key to success was in enhancing the customer experience. But achieving that formula throughout a large chain of stores is challenging. It comes down to the people who represent the store when serving its customers.
We spent vast resources of time, money and energy attempting to teach our staff how to make each customer’s visits a memorable experience. However, the success of these endeavours was inconsistent: some people got it and others didn’t.
Recently, I’ve had the good fortune to work as a volunteer with the White Rock/South Surrey Hospice Society Thrift Shop. While working in the store one morning, I discovered the magic formula that every retailer seeks, yet many find so elusive. As I heard the warmth and sincere caring that each volunteer staff member shares with their customers and with each other, it struck me. Like Ebenezer Scrooge awakening from a night of revelation at the hands of three Christmas spirits, it occurred to me that the magic can’t be taught or bought. How can it be that these people give so freely of themselves without being paid a single penny?
Ahhh… it’s because they want to be here and they genuinely care about helping others!
Here in this quaint little store, warmed by the generous hearts of its volunteers, is the manifestation of the true Christmas message.
Christmas is not about getting, it’s about giving.
Marc Burchell, Surrey