Not too long ago, we dropped into our local Whole Foods grocery store hoping to find a black Arabic tea that we were served while dining at a new Mediterranean restaurant . Although we didn’t find what we were initially looking for, our friendly tea guide and casual connoisseur of ordinary and exotic teas helped us weed through the plethora of brands and flavors until we finally reached a decision. We settled on trying two brands of the same type; a Darjeeling black tea ‘with floral notes and a brisk finish‘ by TAZO. And the other brand was Choice; ‘Renowned Fragrant Tea from India‘. Both advertised as an organic blend of tea.
Now, I don’t do all of my grocery shopping at Whole Foods on a regular basis. Trader Joe’s happens to be more conveniently located yet it isn’t that big of a store so it lacks variety. So this evening we needed to stock back up on some produce and meat items and so I decided I wanted to go back to Whole Foods.
First stop once inside the store was the produce section. As I was perusing through the various fresh herbs from Basil to fresh mint, a mans voice spoke up behind me as he asked if I enjoyed the tea I recently purchased. Turning around, lo and behold, it was our same friendly tea guide from our previous visit! I was impressed that he actually remembered us and it took me by surprise. After some brief small talk on tea, he mentioned another type that he really enjoyed that I recalled him saying something about it the last time. After a couple of moments of small talk, our conversation ended and I carried on with my shopping.
A little bit later while exploring the dairy aisle, the same friendly tea guy reappears and prompts me to follow him down to the tea aisle where he pulled his favorite tea off the shelf. It was a Vanilla Almond black tea from The Republic of Tea.
Although it contained 50 tea bags, the price was a bit hefty for me at $10 per container. I wasn’t completely out of tea yet so it isn’t really something I wanted to purchase at this time, nor did I want to spend that much on a tea that I wasn’t sure I would even like. He must have heard the hesitancy in my voice and as he pulled out a special sticker reading, ‘Give It A Try!‘ , and places it on the tea container, he said, ‘This is my favorite tea and I really want you to try it, so it’s on me today! When you go to the checkout, just show them this sticker and they won’t charge you for the tea.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have these kinds of awesome customer service experiences very often when I go grocery shopping! I was stunned. Floored. I was not getting a DISCOUNT on 50 bags of tea. I was getting it for FREE! Just to try!
I was so excited, by the time I finished shopping, I went back to my new favorite tea person and asked if I could take his picture because I wanted to write up a blog post on his fine example of what it means to provide excellent customer service. He was very happy that I was pleased. So pleased that I made everyone at the checkout know about the great customer service as well. Unfortunately, he wasn’t sure if me taking pictures of employees would be allowed so this post will have to be enough!
Apparently, I’m not the only customer this employee aims to please. I ran into another customer, a man, who said the same employee emails him when his special items are restocked in the store!
Now that’s customer service!
In summary, here’s what people love to experience when it comes to customer service:
1. Friendly and helpful staff. People know when employees want to be there and when they don’t. You don’t have to tell a good employee to help a customer. They are happy to be of service.
2. Knowledgeable. They have enough knowledge and experience to answer your questions. They know what they are talking about.
3. They care enough to remember you if they see you again. Depending on type of service, this might be a challenge. It’s exceptional when you run into this.
4. Personalized service. Great customer service caters to the needs of the customers and also helps expand horizons to give opportunities to try new things.
5. In the food industry, try before you buy is ALWAYS a good deal!
Now it’s your turn! Share your personal stories where you experienced excellent customer service!
© Samantha S Hall 2014 All Rights Reserved
Additional Related Resources:
If you happen to live or be near Vancouver, Wa, and love Mediterranean food, be sure to check out this great new restuarant! >> Petra House
Oprah and Whole Foods co-founder, John Mackey An interview on conscious capitalism.
Customer Service – 21 Tips To Make It Easy For Customers by Kate Nasser
One Bad Experience by Alli Polin