Going to the grocery store used to be a social event. We knew all the clerks and regularly chatted with the butchers behind the cases. They knew our name and we knew theirs. Even when other grocery stores opened in our neighborhood, we kept going back because it felt like home to us.
One day a few months ago, my husband and I walked into our favorite grocery store for our weekly shop and didn’t see any of their regular employees. When we asked what happened to everyone, we were told that corporate moved them all to other stores.
New faces greeted us with smiles and a rehearsed greeting that had little warmth. You knew they didn’t care. The magic was gone. Indifference had replaced the warm and friendly attitude we had come to expect.
This past Father’s Day, I wanted to buy a special sized steak for my husband. However, this time I chose to drive to Publix. After asking the butcher if they would kindly cut me a special size, they replied with a charming smile and said of course they would and told me that it would be ready in a few minutes. I thanked them and said I would be back to pick it up.
I was in the dairy department on the other side of the store when I noticed a tall man in a white apron walking towards me with a steak in his hand. He greeted me with a smile and handed me my order. We chatted for a few brief minutes and then he smiled, wished us well and went back to work.
Outstanding! Not only did they give me exactly what I asked for, but he walked around the entire grocery store until he found me and hand delivered it to me. He even took the time to tell me about the steak and how he cut it.
Did it immediately provide me with a sense of customer loyalty? Absolutely. It’s now our regular store.
The customer service moral is this… people really DO want you to know their name. They want to feel special. They want to feel that you actually care about them and that you are happy to see them in your store. Everyone can do the big things in customer service. You can robotically say the right words and go through the correct motions. However, to REALLY create a service that WOWS your customer so much that it creates someone who will want to come back again and again, you must go above and beyond what you normally do.
Certainly, Publix does the customer thing well. Many stores do. It was that one little thing that made the difference and got my attention. The fact that a busy butcher went out of his way to walk around the store and find me. That’s WOW customer service which creates a customer experience that leads to brand loyalty.
People might not remember what you said, but they’ll never ever forget how you made them feel.
Until next time!