Value In Knowing Your Stuff


Brent Books, Creedmoor Sports general manager, started out in smallbore and air rifle, but
has taken the time to learn more about many different disciplines to better serve customers.
(Photo: Serena Juchnowski)

We all know them. The glossy infomercials advertising products that seem too good to be true. The little red “As Seen on TV” graphic is likely intended to make the decision to buy easy — to give the idea it was on TV so it must be good. Instead, customer reviews combined with gimicky advertising have had the opposite effect. The sticker serves as a warning label not to buy a product, or at least examine it very carefully first.

Word Of Mouth

People talk and often it’s the unsatisfied who are the loudest. In general, people are much more likely to answer surveys and give feedback when they have had a negative experience rather than a positive one. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a customer experience metric popular in surveys and in customer relationship management. Its premise is simple. Each customer is asked one question: How likely are you to recommend [company/product/service, etc.] to a friend or colleague on a scale of 0 to 10? A rating of 0 indicates not at all likely while 10 falls at the opposite end of the scale, extremely likely.

There’s something hidden within the question. By recommending a product/company/service, etc., a person puts their reputation and personal relationships on the line. While killing a friendship over a bad product recommendation is petty and unlikely, it does lend to mistrust. Ask yourself: If someone recommended a car repair shop that ended up destroying your engine, would you ever go there — or trust your friend’s advice — again?


How does the Net Promoter Score work? Respondents to the question are divided into three categories based on the rating they provided. Those who answered 9 or 10 are promoters, enthusiastic and loyal customers who support your business. Passives respond 7 or 8; they’re somewhere in the middle, satisfied but not enough to sing praises from the rooftops or post online. Anyone answering 0 to 6 is a detractor. These unhappy customers are unlikely to return and are most active in discouraging others as well. Notice how much larger the detractor category is than the rest. The goal is to convert detractors to promoters, in other words, improve experiences.

The NPS for a brand/product/company, etc. is calculated by subtracting the total percentage of detractors from the total percentage of promoters.
The NPS score lies on a scale of -100 to 100.

Does It Matter?

After all this, are surveys really the answer? Perhaps not, but it’s important to understand customer segments and to keep a pulse on what people are saying about your product or service. Some companies take this a step further, cutting off negativity at the source.

Creedmoor Sports Inc., an online retailer and manufacturer for the serious rifle shooter, prioritizes its understanding of customer needs.

According to General Manager Brent Books, “We try to make sure what we offer is also something we would use ourselves, or we see a good reason as to why someone would use it. Every shooter is unique and each person needs something a little different to achieve their goal. With our experience in competitive shooting, we’re able to guide the shooter to what they need.”

While Creedmoor caters to the precision rifle shooter, they serve anyone looking for quality equipment and to improve their skills.

“The same products that help competitors shoot better will help a plinker,” Books added. “People are driven by their passion and what’s fun to them, and it’s hard to find anything more fun than a good day of shooting.”

Know Your Stuff

That said, the staff at Creedmoor Sports has a wide variety of experience. Books is an alumnus of Jacksonville State University’s NCAA rifle team, having competed in and coached Olympic-style smallbore and air rifle.

“Most of the products we carry or make are items our staff actually wants to use on the firing line or on the reloading bench. This gives us deeper knowledge when helping customers and our staff gets excited when they get to talk about why they like the product and what its faults are. Not all of the products we carry are for everyone, but by having firsthand experience with them we’re able to determine what the customer’s needs are and get them what’s best.”

”By recommending a product/company
/service, etc., a person puts their reputation
and personal relationships on the line.“

As a high-power competitor, I’ve been well acquainted with Creedmoor Sports for years, but only visited their Anniston, Ala., facility this spring. I was impressed by the creativity of the staff and admired potential new products strewn throughout the shop; items personnel needed and are currently seeking a better solution for. Taking it one step further, Creedmoor also seeks to be a source of education for customers and non-customers alike.


“The Creedmoor InfoZone is our blog site where we share articles, post videos and provide tips,” Books said. “We want to help people shoot better and sometimes all they need is a little advice rather than a new gadget. In competitive shooting, it’s easy to fall into a habit of trying to ‘buy points.’ Knowledge, experience and practice are what’s going to improve your scores the most.”

To supplement this, Creedmoor also aspires to have subject matter experts on staff who are available to answer customer questions, and makes sure each staff member is very familiar with the products they carry.

I’ve also seen this on a smaller scale. Steve Trommer of Medina, Ohio, operates a small retail and online store paired with a training facility.

Through several brands, Virtual Range SITE, Everything Outdoor Tactical and Everything Outdoor Camping, he seeks to help others improve their outdoor experiences.

“I’ve always relied on purchasing quality products when it comes to my personal outdoor adventures,” he shared. “I only make recommendations on products I’ve used or have firsthand knowledge of.”

No matter the size or type of business, what sets these two apart from competitors and keeps people coming back is knowledge of product and dedication to the customer. Rather than sell products with a high profit margin or are easy to stock, these companies focus on what their customers need, are looking for and what they would use themselves.

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