Businesses say good service key to success

By: Lauren Gibbs, The Placer Herald
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Sometimes it’s luck, but more likely it’s other factors that keep “we’re open” signs on businesses.
Rocklin is no stranger to the hard hits from the economy, with vacant lots, for sale signs and closed signs scattered across the city. But many Rocklin businesses have held on strong, and for years.
Rocklin Florist on Pacific Street has been open and serving the community for more than 30 years. They opened their doors in 1975 offering designer floral arrangements for locals.
Mona Wooden, co-owner of Rocklin Florist, said customer service and a good product are vital to survival in this economy.
“Customer service right now is always important for any brick and mortar flower place … right now our struggle is against grocery stores,” she said.
Instead of trying to compete, the shop concentrates on the customers that want the personalized attention and professionally designed arrangements, Wooden said.
Keeping an ‘eagle eye’ on expenses
It’s also keeping track of money that has helped Rocklin Florist stay in business, Wooden said.
“We managed to stay afloat because we kept our expenses down,” she said. “We keep an eagle eye on everything.”
Lisa Vitello, owner of Wags to Riches, a 19-year-old pet grooming business in Rocklin, agreed that cutting the fat from the business’ budget is crucial.
“You have to get lean and mean,” she said. “You have to look at your expenses and eliminate everything that is extra.”
‘Kind of like ‘Cheers,’ where everybody knows their name’
But it’s not just about the money – it’s also about the customers and getting first-timers to become regulars seems to be the key to business success, no matter the niche.
“We have regular customers I see for every holiday,” Wooden said.
At Venita Rhea’s on Granite Drive, manager Michelle Regalado said their customers become part of the restaurant’s family.
“It’s kind of like ‘Cheers,’ where everybody knows their name,” she said. “We anticipate their needs before they even know it.”
The restaurant has served the area for more than 12 years and despite switching owners, staff have maintained relationships with their guests.
“We have a wonderful relationship with our customers,” Regalado said. “What they want right now is a quality product … to get their money’s worth.”
Quality food and consistency is what has kept Venita Rhea’s open and they plan to keep it that way, Regalado said.
“We plan to stay around forever with customers’ help,” she said.
Customer incentives keep them coming back
At Wags to Riches, Vitello said they try to give the customers the best service possible. One way is giving back through incentives such as a discount for referring a new customer to the shop and free services for booking 12 appointments within a specific timeframe.
Vitello said the majority of her clients are referral based.
“Word of mouth is usually what gets them in the first time,” she said.
What gets them coming back, is a mixture of things like knowing customers by name, keeping staff educated on new pet trends and using high-quality products, Vitello said.
“We really have tried to do better,” Vitello said. “We really had to pull together as a shop.”

For more photos: Venita Rhea's: customer service is key