Brooks says businesses should relate to customers - East Valley Tribune: Business

Brooks says businesses should relate to customers

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Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2003 12:50 am | Updated: 1:00 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Businesses need to look at the world from the customer's point of view to improve service, Cookies From Home co-founder Susan Brooks told an audience Wednesday.

Businesses need to see facilities and the customer experience "through fresh eyes'' and learn the customer agenda, she said.

"That way they can be proactive with major concerns of the customers,'' Brooks said.

Brooks remarks came at the Tempe Chamber of Commerce eighth annual Women in Business Conference and Trade Show and Wyndham Buttes Resort. Brooks and her husband, Barry, started the Tempe-based company in 1981. The family had a store on Mill Avenue modeled after Victorian parlour.

Brook said she realized the company was doing more than selling cookies.

"What we are selling is home, security, mom, childhood and comfort,'' Brooks said. Knowing what you are selling is one the key principals to improving service, she said. Keeping the company focused on that task became more difficult when the company moved to its current University Avenue location, she said. As the company grew and business shifted from a store to catalog sales and corporate gifts, the staff played a bigger role, she said.

That's why its important to involve your employees in "what you are really selling,'' Brooks said. "They are you,'' she said.

Finally, she cautioned the audience about trying to revamp customer service all at once."One thing at a time, '' she said. "Otherwise you won't get anything done."

And, Brooks said, it takes only small improvements to stand out from the crowd. At the event, Barbara Kimbrough, general manager of Edwards Jones region headquarters in Tempe, was named Business Woman of the Year.

Kimbrough has been with Edward Jones since 1996 and moved to Arizona to oversee construction of the Tempe facility.

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