March 8, 2010: ‘We’re always learning’

Is it possible that a store that boasts a nearly perfect CSI sales score — 99.2 — can actually improve customer relations by looking at retail practices conducted outside of the industry?

“Oh absolutely,” owner Jerold Hopper said. “We’re always learning.”

Case in point: The Alabama dealership now employs something Hopper first encountered at an area Home Depot years ago. “If you ask them about anything, I don’t care if it was the guy in the paint department where a faucet washer is, that gentleman or lady would not point to the plumbing department and say it’s on aisle 22,” he said. “He or she would walk you over there. If there was somebody in that department, she would physically hand you off. She wouldn’t say, ‘He’ll be with you in a little bit.’ She would go over and give you their (colleague’s) name, and that’s just the way it should be done.”

And that’s the way it is done at D&H. “I don’t really slow down enough to think about stuff like that,” Hopper said of ways to improve CSI.

At least not often. Not until it’s brought up by consumers, such as one Hopper picked up in an area airport. The consumer, who was coming to town solely to purchase a new motorcycle, asked Hopper, “‘What makes you pick people up at the airport?’ And I didn’t have an answer. I had never thought about it. I stumbled around for a few minutes and said, ‘You know if somebody’s going to come all the way to my store from El Paso, Texas, to buy a motorcycle from me, the least I can do is meet them part way.’”

Hopper defines his CSI theory simply: Doing things that his consumers don’t expect him to do.

“I guess what I’m saying is what makes me different from a lot of other folks is what I expect people to do for me and what I’m willing to do for the other guy.”

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