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A c-gas superhero connects with customers online

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Untitled-3When an employee suggested creating a Facebook page for Sébastien Poulin’s convenience store last December, he said: ‘Sure, why not?’

“I’m proud of my employees and encourage their input,” says the owner of Dépanneur Marché Alexandre in Sherbrooke, QC.

Within six months, the page attracted more than 600 followers. “It’s really built the store’s community,” Poulin says. “We know everyone’s names, faces, and buying preferences through their Facebook comments.”

Promoting the page

The number of followers has risen quickly with the help of product promotions. “For instance, we recently partnered with Hershey to give customers a chance to win superhero T-shirts,” Poulin says. “People love entering contests, especially local draws with a better chance of winning – even if it’s for smaller prizes.”

Suppliers have taken notice and are more willing to create store promotions. “They see that people are paying more attention to their products as a result,” Poulin says.

He’s impressed with the store’s foray into social media. “I’m glad an employee suggested that we create a Facebook page and appreciate how he’s managing it.”

Recognizing staff success

Poulin didn’t hesitate to acknowledge his employee’s idea, because he always strives to recognize staff efforts. “It could be something as simple as a coffee, but people appreciate knowing their initiative is noticed,” he says.

Poulin delegates responsibilities for verifying and ordering stock. “Of course, I check the bills, but I trust my staff and their abilities.”

He says his staff of 10 is his greatest asset. “They know my customers, greet them by name, and remember what they usually order,” he says. “Facebook has definitely helped to build that customer knowledge.”

Looking to take your store online?

1. Establish a reliable team. With an excellent staff supporting you, you won’t make the mistake of trying to do everything alone.

2. Set the example. Show your employees how you want them to treat customers by providing exemplar service.

3. Be open to suggestions. Listen to others, because sometimes the simplest, most effective ideas won’t be obvious to you.