Monday, July 11, 2005

A Customer Service Triumph

I have been feeling pretty lousy about customer service in 2005 after an minor incident that happened to me in Italy. I don't need to go into the details, other than to say that a restaurant would not let me take my three-year-old to use their "potty" in what was truly an urgent situation for Kate.

Granted, we were not technically customers....but I believe in my heart that if a three-year-old needs to go wee-wee, you let her dad take her into your facilities. Especially when it is early in the evening and you have nearly no patrons in your bistro. Yet this waiter, and the owner, both disagreed with me and sent us running to find another option (most people whom I share this story say I should have had her pee on their sidewalk..... but I didn't).

Anyway, this exchange in Siena left me sad about how people treat each other in today's world.

But tonight I had a great customer service experience...and faith in my fellow man has been restored!!

Back in Austin, I had to purchase some gift baskets for some out-of-town VIP's who will be here for a conference. The plan is to have nice Texas BBQ sauce, salsa and other local goodies waiting for them when they check into their hotel room. I went to the new Whole Foods Market in downtown Austin hoping to find some items that would be appropriate (If you have never been to this particular Whole Foods Market, their "Landmark Store"....you need to check it out as it is phenomenal!!!). What I found was exceptional customer service and a delightful person who worked very hard to ensure that I got the right items in an appropriate package.

It was after 6:00 PM and the store's concierge was closed, so I was told to talk to the floral department. There I found Gena, who was not only willing to help me, but was very creative in finding a way to wrap the items I had selected. She took the time to help me create seventeen gift baskets and was one of the most pleasant store employees I have ever encountered at any company.

I had been worried about being able to get the items packaged, and Gena took my concern and easily solved the issue. Congratulations to Whole Foods....I will shop there more often.

The reason I write about this encounter is because a company can have great marketing, excellent public relations and a strong brand.....but without employees who go the extra mile to make customers feel special....they have nothing. Companies need to remember that everyone is important to properly serving their clients, from the CEO to the person in the flower shop.

Have A Great Day

Thom Singer
thom@thomsinger.com

1 comment:

Juan T said...

Interesting that you should mention customer service, Whole Foods, marketing and brand. In a recent article (last weekend, either WSJ or Austin American Statesman), Whole Foods was listed as the national grocery chain that spends the least on marketing, but had the highest revenue per marketing dollar spend. A spokesman said they use good customer service to promote word of mouth marketing. Seems to be working.