Customer Service, Yes, It’s that Important!
Customer Service. It’s just as simple as it sounds, but for some reason in this day and age with all our technological advances sometimes it becomes overlooked. Personally for me, it’s a pet peeve when I’m dining or shopping with my family, and we are treated rudely or just another face.
There’s a story behind all of this. I began my professional career at the tender age of 16 working in retail. It was at a sporting goods store in the local mall. We weren’t a chain store. The store was owned by Daryl and his brothers (sounds like another story, lol). Anyway, Daryl was a graduate of UNC Charlotte and he had a degree in Marketing. Even though he hired young kids like myself, he taught us the importance of customer service. It went beyond all the “customer is always right” logic; it was about remembering names, shoe sizes and sports they played. It was about building a relationship with the customers and the community. I learned a lot from Daryl and eventually graduated from UNC Charlotte with a degree in Marketing with dreams of being an entrepreneur.
Although I don’t own a bricks and mortar shop, I get to write about local businesses and the key to their success. And, you know what they keep telling me? Customer service is a priority. So you won’t see me walking the aisles of Walmart, but you will find me at a store who puts their customers first. When I see that special service being implemented, I like to say thank you through my writing. Thank you for noticing a frazzled mom, thank you for noticing my two boys, and thank you for taking the time to help us.
Within the past 2 weeks, I happened upon such impeccable service at two Cary spots. Most recently at The Fresh Market. It was just a quick shop- green tea and salsa, but nothing is ever quick with 2 young boys. I know you might be thinking The Fresh Market is kinda pricey, but the prices were pretty comparable for the items on my list– Green Mountain salsa (made in NC), Honest Tea Just Green Tea in the 2 Liter bottles, and Stacy’s Pita Chips. So anyway, I walk into the store and find a lovely self-serve, free sample area of coconut flavored coffee, the perfect pick-me-up after my shoulder/ab workout at the gym. As I try to mentally remember my list- bananas, milk. I walk into the bakery area in which I find some delicious doughnut holes perfect for my Bible study ladies.
Aiden keeps pointing out all the yummy treats he wants to get, then settles on a huge muffin on the shelf. Before, I have a chance to say “no”. He picks it up and begins eating it. I take a deep breath in and scan the store. Ok, no one else saw, but Liam who is sitting in the shopping cart, sees Aiden eating the muffin and starts whinning. “Ok, share with your brother,” I reprimand. Aiden pinches off a piece for Liam while I make a mental note to remind the cashier to charge us $1.19 for the muffin. We continue our shopping and a clerk looks up from his shelf stocking. “We’ve been spotted,” I thought to myself. The clerk looks over in our direction and says, “How sweet your boys are sharing.” I let my guard down a little. Yes, The Fresh Market can have it’s elite grocery status, but they certainly didn’t come across as snobby. We made our way to the cashier and I let him know of our muffin purchase. He smiles at me and says “no charge, it’s on us.” What I couldn’t believe it? Then Aiden walks over to me (he’d been wandering around in the candy aisle) with two chocolate gold coins. He puts them on the checkout stand and the cashier pretends to ring them up and hands them back to him. I instructed Aiden to say thank you which he did, and then we walked out to the car. I kept thinking, Wow, how nice. Yes, customer service is key, and yes we will be back.