In early June over 40 local proprietors attended an event held by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce that hosted a panel of experts in customer service.
Help at Hudson Street Hum, Head of Marketing at Inspirations Paint, Joel Goodsir; Managing Director at Purser Corporate Communication, Meg Purser; and Founder of Scratchley’s on the Wharf and Battlesticks Bar, Neil Slater, were asked for their insights into what keeps customers coming back and to share the tips and tricks they’ve learned over the years.
Neil Slater is a Newcastle icon and has successfully run Scratchley’s at the Wharf for over 20 years and more recently opened Battlesticks Bar. He also championed the Memorial Walk and OzHarvest Newcastle. Neil was candid about the successes and failures during his career, sharing that failures are as important as success as they offer valuable lessons.
His top tips for other business proprietors was to “…stay focused on your customer and on what you’re trying to achieve…”, noting that the consistency and long serving staff has been fundamental to Scratchley’s success.
Neil was also adamant that “Newcastle people put their hard-earned money on the line and we need to make sure the experience they get it is well worth it!”
Joel said that saying no, as hard as it may be, is often necessary to stay true to a brand.
Joel is passionate about strategy, advocating that businesses should “find your segment and be for them, don’t be for everyone.”
As an example, Joel shared that at Inspirations Paint personalised service is key to the brand. Discounting isn’t honouring the brand, so they don’t do it.
“The essence of your brand has to be alive in the face of the customer, so leave what might distract or hasn’t worked behind,” Joel said.
Another notable local businessperson, Meg, shared that from her extensive experience the key is to work collaboratively.
“When we do stuff together, damn we do good stuff,” Meg said.
Meg advises businesses to surround themselves with others who complement what they are trying to achieve.
“Know what your business does best and stick to it,” Meg said.
Hudson Street Hum is a dedicated creative space where artists, writers and makers run classes and workshops that are open to the public. The space is also available for events.
IMAGE | Head of Marketing at Inspirations Paint, Joel Goodsir; Managing Director at Purser Corporate Communication, Meg Purser; and Founder of Scratchley’s on the Wharf and Battlesticks Bar, Neil Slater at a panel event on customer service.
Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organisation that promotes opportunities for people to live, work and play within the suburb. It represents a community that is rich in multicultural heritage while boasting modern retail, hospitality and lifestyle options as well as being the home to a critical part of Newcastle’s current transport infrastructure.