The Benefits of Customer Knowledge
Amanda Setili provides business intelligence from a small business owner who found a solution to the issue of finding workers during the pandemic.
“Like many businesses, Dan & Whit’s General Store in Norwich, Vermont has been having a problem finding enough workers. Out of desperation, they came up with an out-of-the-box solution.
One longtime customer recalls the email she received from the store’s owner. It said, “You want to do yoga? Come into Dan and Whit’s. Breath. Grab a can of peas, put it on the shelf. Reach, stretch, bend down, breathe. Do it again.”
Yes, the store asked its best customers to work a shift or two.
Betsy Maislen is one of over a dozen customers hired in the past month, working part time. Many are retired. Some have other full-time jobs and young kids. None resemble traditional employees.
“We are able to pick our own hours,” explains Dianne Miller. “We’re able to decide how many hours we want to work, when we want to work, what we want to do. So it’s not really a job.”
Dan Fraser is the grandson of the original Dan; he now runs the store. He came up with the idea to ask customers if anyone would be willing to work six hours over the course of a week, broken down in any manner that fit their schedule.
“If everyone does that little piece,” he figured, “Then together those pieces add up to a full person or a couple people that will help us get us through this.”
At the end of her first shift, Maislen found a typed note from Fraser wrapped around her timecard: ‘Betsy – Thanks for coming in for training today. It’s wonderful to have you here joining the team. You’re a quick learner and easily mastered all the tasks. Great job with customers, too. Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks, Dan.’”
Key points include:
- Employee appreciation
- Customer communication
- Customer innovation
Read the full article, A General Store Asks Its Customers to Work, on LinkedIn.