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July 2010
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Why are Fast Food and Groceries different businesses?

Customer service is one of those things that every business wants to concentrate on to improve the satisfaction of their customers.  I’d like to pass along some advice for businesses to have a look at and discuss at your next staff meeting.

Speed of service is very important to me.  For instance, when I go to the grocery store and all of the open registers have line ups of 5 or 6 customers each, as a manager, I’d consider that to be a bad sign.  Good in that the store is busy but bad as it could lead to frustrated customers.

As grocery store shoppers, many of us try to gauge which lines are shorter, which lines have the faster cashiers or which lines have the least amount of items to be purchased in hopes of getting through the fastest. Managers could really make my life simpler (while making me a happier customer) if they just worked with staff on serving me quicker.

Nobody likes standing in line-ups for much of anything but standing in lines and seeing cashiers take their sweet time is painful as can be.  When line-ups get to big, I expect to see management and employees up their game to a whole new level.

  • Management calling additional staff to the front to help bag groceries or direct customers to new cashiers or customer service desks.
  • Show me by your actions that you are trying to serve customers as fast as you can.
  • Stop commenting on my food choices. Nothing is worse than being third back in line while hearing a cashier ask if these crackers are any good – save the friendly conversation for when time permits. Concentrate on getting to serve me.
  • Refocus your efforts – Management may want you to ask me if I found everything I was looking for today or if I wanted to help support your community cause with a donation – with customers waiting, I’d like you to drop everything and just serve me as quickly as you can.

When some fast food drive-thrus put digital timers up at the window, it showed me that somebody somewhere cares enough to know how fast customers are being served – it is called fast food after all.  I just want people who are involved in customer service to understand that service has direct ties between how quickly I get served and my level of satisfaction.

Costco seems to be one of those places that always has line-ups but I appreciate their efforts to serve me as quickly as they can. They almost always have someone helping to box up items, grab the member card of the next person in line and even locate scan bars on big items left in the shopping cart. Sometimes they even have people looking for shoppers within the lines with only a few items – they scan the items before they reach the cashier so the only thing left to do is pay. They serve customers as if someone is actually watching to make sure everyone is getting serviced as quickly as possible – maybe that is the reason for the overhead cameras or maybe it is just smart business management. As busy as Costco is every time I’m there, you never feel let down by the cashiers.  

Show me that you are doing your best to serve me as quickly as you can and I’ll feel your pain instead of my own. Show me that you could really care less how quickly I get served and I’ll be left looking for a new company to deal with next time I shop. As consumers, we want good service and we don’t want to wait forever to get it.

www.quickdeal.com          [email protected]          250-412-3500

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