Friday, November 13, 2009

Interesting experiences of Customer Orientation

Today evening I was searching for some exotic food stuffs to attempt home made pizza's. In the course of my search I witnessed two very interesting customer service experiences and would like to share that and leave you all with some thoughts.

1. Had picked up whatever was available and was waiting in line for billing. It was around 6 p.m. and most staff seem to be on a break basis the comments I heard (Funny time for a break on a weekend). There was only 1 cashier and she seemed to be quite unhappy to be one of the few working and not on break. Suddenly she called out for the duty manager to come. Another staff replied that he was eating to which the cashier petulantly replied; "Tell him his authorisation is required for the billing and he will come". Immediately, a youngster rushed up trying to hide his right hand which was covered with rice. Obviously he had been having a belated lunch. I was impressed with his reaction, including the fact that he did not take time to wash his hand and focused on the task at hand. A true Retailer and he will go far in life. As for the cashier, I am sure she was least apologetic for having created a situation wherein an authorisation is required. I can state this confidently as a retailer since the customer had not changed any of the purchases and so the only reason for an authorisation is an error by the cashier.

Now the question that vexes me is that with the increasing shortage shortage of store staff will the staff be more and more indifferent to the customer while the store supervisors and managers scurry to overcome the service deficiencies? How long will this last? How can this be handled better?

2. Next I landed up in another store and was enquiring where I would find chili flakes. This middle aged store staff called out to another that I was looking for chili flakes. This staff was a youngster and picked out the packet from a carton kept at the lowest shelf of a rack which did not even have shelf edge labels. Now my curiosity was piqued and I went around asking staff for directions to products and was completely amazed with the exact direction I got from each staff for products which were a few aisles away and one was at the other end of the store. I was reminded of the customer service training sessions I would take in the early days where Product knowledge was stressed upon including the location of the various products. Hats off to this team and more importantly to whoever has trained them.

How can such brilliant service be duplicated and replicated across stores? formats?

Worth thinking about.


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