Café boss serves up secrets of customer care

Hazel Bell, Larne Borough Council; Councillor Martin Wilson, Chairman of Larne Development Forum; Heather Major, Business in the Community; Jill Beasant, Spotcheck NI and Michael McQuillan, the streat serving up customer care excellence to Larne traders. INLT 43-614-CON
Hazel Bell, Larne Borough Council; Councillor Martin Wilson, Chairman of Larne Development Forum; Heather Major, Business in the Community; Jill Beasant, Spotcheck NI and Michael McQuillan, the streat serving up customer care excellence to Larne traders. INLT 43-614-CON
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a GROUP of 19 local traders keen to discover how to keep delighting their customers attended an evening seminar co-hosted by Business in the Community’s Connections programme and Larne Borough Council at LEDCOM’s Bank Road offices.

Guest speaker Michael McQuillan - founder of the leading café chain the streat - shared the secrets of his business’s successful approach to achieving and maintaining customer service excellence.

Michael, who is development director with the streat, now owned by the Henderson Group, revealed: “Managing and monitoring customer satisfaction across our 33 café outlets is a top priority for us. I was delighted to talk about some of the tools and incentives we’ve developed to help Larne traders improve their customer service levels. Sharing what works for us with the wider business community will hopefully give others tips which can be used to help support Northern Ireland business growth.”

“Outstanding customer service is key to the success of all business,” explained Heather Major from Business in the Community’s small business initiative, Connections, sponsored by ESB Electric Ireland. “This seminar is one in a series being delivered across Northern Ireland as part of our support to share best practice to help small businesses beat the recession and grow their businesses responsibly.”

Susan Kinane, business markets manager at ESB, said: “The Northern Ireland economy has great potential and we believe that the business community must pull together to provide every competitive advantage for the SME sector.”

Jill Beasant, Spotcheck NI, outlined the importance of setting clear service standards to staff and the methods businesses can use to measure staff performance and customer satisfaction levels.

Larne town development manager Hazel Bell said: “The feedback from this event was excellent and indicated that local retailers really appreciate the opportunity to hear practical tips about customer care management.

“This opportunity to share best practice is one of a series of seminars we are putting on to help local traders in Larne survive the recession and work together to provide the best possible shopping experience to the local community and to attract more customers into Larne town centre.”

Another seminar has been scheduled for Wednesday, November 2, also co-hosted by Business in the Community. It will focus on Visual Merchandising and the Shopping Environment. Stephen Hamilton and Healey Martin from the Henderson Group will be sharing practical tips and advice on product display and shop layout to attract more customers and maximise sales.

To book a place, or to find out about other forthcoming seminar topics for the retail trade, contact Hazel Bell or Pauline McAuley at Larne Borough Council on 028 2826 3082.