Customer Service: Good vs. Great

This story was written about an actual shopper experience.

“I visited [Large grocery chain] for the first time ever on Sunday and honestly answered “Can I help you find anything?” for the first time, and it was all due to simple body language.

While my mom and I were walking down the first aisle, we were first asked “Can I help you find anything?” by an associate with a forced looking smile. He seemed busy keeping an eye on the flow of customers, and didn’t maintain eye contact with us. I did have something I was looking for, but I ended up saying “Nope” like I always do because I didn’t believe he actually wanted to, or was able, to help me. I didn’t believe him because a fake smile and inconsistent eye contact conveys to me, “This is just something I am required to say, please don’t take me up on this”. After that encounter I was fairly put off, but we kept on.

Later on, I was walking down the frozen food aisle with my mother and we encountered another associate stocking food. He kept stocking, but warmly smiled at us right away, which was nice. After we were in the aisle browsing a bit and he’d finished his task, he looked directly at us and asked “How’s it going today? Anything I can help you find?” His smile, consistent eye contact, and dropping of his other tasks before asking the question coalesced into a believable offer, and I said “Actually… yes, where is the soda aisle?” While he walked me over, he also sold me on the vegetarian burgers he was stocking which I wasn’t planning on getting. It really surprised me how much more positive my feeling about the store was after getting what I felt was a genuine offer of help, rather than a scripted line.”

In this example we learn why everyone needs to be following the customer service guidelines and why even the best retail companies should have a continuous mystery shopping program in operation!