Are you helpful after hours?

I follow a lot of bookstores on social media, and I was happy to see so many posts warning customers ahead of time about Easter Sunday closings.

If you have signs on the door, or changed your answering machine to reflect the closing, remember to change it back.

But this is also a good time to spend 300 Seconds getting into the minds of our customers to see how they perceive the store when it is closed for the day or after hours. Even though the store might be closed, customers still have access to your store through a variety of portals.

  • Answering machine. Listen to your outgoing message. What does it say? Thanks for calling? We’re sorry we missed you during store hours. Do you send them to your website or Facebook page for more information? Do you encourage them to leave a message, with the caveat that the call will be returned the next open day? (Was the speaker smiling when they recorded the message?)
  • Website. Browse your site as if you were a customer looking for a book, for a book club, for storytime, for an upcoming event, for a job application, for the store address, phone number, email address or directions to the store. Can they navigate your site and find what they’re after?
  • Physical store. The store is closed, but your windows are likely open. How does the store look from the sidewalk? What can customers see? What might thieves see?

You might have set hours when you staff the store. But during these 300 seconds, remember that you’re always open.

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay