SOURCE: Ace Hardware

Ace Hardware

October 05, 2015 09:05 ET

Ace Center for Excellence Celebrates National Customer Service Week

New Division Shares Award-Winning Customer Service Tips With Businesses and Leaders

OAK BROOK, IL--(Marketwired - Oct 5, 2015) - The Ace Center for Excellence, a new division of Ace Hardware designed to share the strategies and key principles of the brand's unparalleled commitment to customer service, celebrates National Customer Service Week, taking place October 5th-9th. The Center's goal is to help companies improve upon their customer experience based on Ace's award-winning approach through workshops and keynotes.

The Ace Center for Excellence is comprised of team members who have been living the brand's promise, guiding them towards excellence in customer service leadership every day. Ace Hardware President and CEO, John Venhuizen, Executive Vice President Merchandising, Marketing and Sales, John Surane, Ray Griffith, former President/CEO of Ace Hardware, Art Freedman, Ace Hardware store owner of 25 years, Gina Schaefer, passionate entrepreneur and owner of eleven Ace Hardware stores, Tom Knox, CEO of the powerhouse Westlake Ace Hardware and Lou Manfredini, Ace Hardware Home Expert and Ace retailer, inspire those looking to improve upon their customer service models through customized solutions. Each team member is skilled in achieving Ace's tried-and-true strategies to ensure their businesses are most successful when it comes to building a customer-centric culture.

"For the ninth year in a row, J.D. Power and Associates has ranked Ace at the top of the customer satisfaction category," said Venhuizen. "Successful companies began contacting us and asking, 'How do you do it?' With the Ace Center for Excellence, we now have a vehicle to share what's worked for us with others and fulfill our helpful brand promise."

In celebration of National Customer Service Week 2015, the Ace Center for Excellence team members are sharing their best customer service practices as advice for business leaders and entrepreneurs that can be applied to any industry. Customer service tips from the Center's team include:

  • Act like you own the place. If you want your associates to provide amazing service to your customers -- then you'll need them to think and act like owners. Which means, you need to share information about your business with your team, including the numbers. The more they know, the more they'll understand. The more they understand, the more they'll care. And once they care -- there's no stopping them.
  • Strive to be the best place to buy and the best place to work. Your associates will either fulfill or break your brand promise. If you want promise keepers; you need to be an employer of choice -- not the last resort -- for them.
  • Defend the culture of your brand and company. Arguably the most important role of the leader of any business is to be the creator and keeper of the culture. When you create a steady culture, you create consistency for the customer, which keeps them coming back!
  • Don't leave customer loyalty to chance. Luck is not a strategy. Operationalize your customer experience without compromising the personality and individuality of your team that sets you apart from competitors.
  • Connect effective training to your brand promise. You cannot expect what you don't instruct. Always engage your employees in training because when they care more about the brand, they will care more about your customers.

For more information on the Ace Center for Excellence and how to schedule a workshop and/or keynote, please visit www.acecenterforexcellence.com.

About Ace Hardware
For more than 90 years, Ace Hardware has been known as the place with the helpful hardware folks in thousands of neighborhoods across America, providing customers with a more personal kind of helpful. In 2014, Ace ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Home Improvement Retail Stores, Nine Years in a Row," according to J.D. Power. With more than 4,800 hardware stores locally owned and operated across the globe, Ace is the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative in the world. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., Ace and its subsidiaries currently operate 17 distribution centers in the U.S. and also have distribution capabilities in Shanghai, China; Panama City, Panama; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Its retailers' stores are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and approximately 60 countries. For more information on Ace, visit www.acehardware.com.

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