Kenny Stanton and Zack Stanton

April 05, 2022 I Cover Story

Leading with Kindness

By Katie Kailus

When suppliers voted for Ken Stanton Music in this year’s Excellence voting process, one went as far as to say Ken Stanton Music is “obsessed” with making the customer experience “nothing short of amazing.” When the quote was anonymously shared with Zack Stanton, director of e-commerce sales for the four-store, Georgia-based dealer, he said he was honored, adding that the golden rule is truly taken to heart at his store.

“Ken Stanton Music has always and will always continue to fall back to the golden rule in terms of experience both traditionally and digitally,” Stanton said. “Treat the customer as you would want to be treated. Use policy as a guideline versus a law. Let the situation dictate the direction of service rather than simply quote a policy.”

Stanton stressed the importance of making customers feel that they’re heard and recognized.

“People want to feel as though they’re being listened to and handled by a real person,” Stanton continued. “We empower our people both in-store and online to lead with empathy and kindness. There is no magic to a great experience in any retail format. People make the difference. Train your people daily on what you expect, then work with them to reinforce those expectations.

“We strive to make it an almost natural vibe that we’re here to help people with anything and everything,” Stanton continued. “We like to inspire people, and we try to make it top of mind that we are a one-stop shop to buy, rent, repair and learn an instrument.”

That natural energy is one reason Ken Stanton’s staff is not commission based.

“We love what we do, and we try to make sure people know we’re in it for them,” he said.

Digital Service with a Smile
As buyer’s moods shift, Stanton said so have the levels of expected service. He admitted that taking good in-store customer service and translating it to the online shopping experience is an ongoing challenge for almost any company with a web presence.

“We try to make the experience nearly the same as the experience in store as much as we can,” he said, adding that the Ken Staton Music uses embedded live chat widget Zendesk on its website. “We always have someone manning the chat, so they know there’s a body on the other end and not a bot. No message is received without a response.”

With an influx of customers reaching out about product availability due to the shortages, Stanton said his store engages as much as possible on social media and through email.

“We approach it more from an angle of informing people instead of pushing sales,” Stanton said. “[We] just give them a constant reminder that they can always have faith in a good selection.” MI

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