Businesses rated after secret visit

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Samantha Reece plans to help Albany businesses attract more customers.
Camera IconSamantha Reece plans to help Albany businesses attract more customers. Credit: Laurie Benson/Picture: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

A woman who calls herself “tough love Oprah” because of her honest advice has hit Albany streets determined to help local businesses.

A motivational speaker, author and marketing company operator for 12 years, Samantha Reece is working with the City of Albany to bring some outside eyes into York Street, Stirling Terrace and Peels Place businesses and provide free advice on improving sales.

“A lot of businesses blame the economy, foot traffic, all these kinds of things for not doing well,” she said. “But at the end of the day are they doing all they can to secure a sale?

“When I go into a business I’m looking for someone cheerful, somebody who expresses interest in me as a shopper, somebody who will start dialogue in a different way.”

On August 7, Ms Reece visited every store in the CBD and secretly rated each on presentation, customer service and sales closure, which will be returned to each shop to help them improve service.

Ms Reece said some of what she told businesses would be critical, but her method had proven to help.

“I call myself Tough Love Oprah because I’m tough and I’m to the point — but it’s that revelation, that Oprah moment that people have with me that helps them move into the next stage and make changes to their business,” she said.

“You’re not going to like what I have to say sometimes, but it’s the truth and the truth as they say will set you free.”

The City is targeting recruiting up to 10 CBD businesses for free workshops increasing the number of people visiting stores and handing money over at the till.

The program has the support of Albany executive director of corporate services Michael Cole, who hopes businesses will welcome free professional advice. “It’s not a pass or a fail, the idea is we’ve been to your shop and we think there’s room for improvement,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s nice to get another set of eyes to come along.”

Mr Cole said businesses would still be provided with feedback if they did not want to take part in the seminar.

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