In customer service stories, we often hear about exceptional circumstances that compel a representative to provide service far out of the norm.  But, like we’ve frequently discussed, quality service has to be consistently pursued day in and day out.  Heidi, who works for the grocer Trader Joe’s, shared her approach to ensuring a constant delivery of exceptional customer service.

Photo by Ben Smith

Photo by Ben Smith

“Every day, people flood through our doors to do a mundane task: buy food.  But we have a reputation for being a friendly company, so there’s pressure to give people special experiences.”  But rather than plastering on charm, Heidi has a method for finding customers to go above and beyond for on every shift.  “I’ve become good at observing people.  I look for any little clue that someone might not be having the best day, and those are the people I target more heavily to help.”

What does Heidi do?  At first she does what anyone in customer service ought to do, she asks if she can be of assistance to them.  “After we get the basics out of the way, I just ask them how they’re getting on beyond the grocery shopping.  It’s amazing how many people really want that chance to connect with someone else – I just happen to be a team member in a grocery store.”

By taking the time to express a genuine interest in her customers, Heidi fosters a bond not just between herself and the customers, but between her company and its customers.  “It’s really become a fun thing for me.  I’ve learned a lot about the people who have become loyal customers and I can see, over time, how much more enthusiasm they have for shopping with us once they realize they have a friend there.”

This connection with her customers hasn’t cost Heidi or her company anything.  It has only required a strong motivation and focused plan on Heidi’s part to find an approach that’s easy to replicate over and over.  “It’s become my thing.  Now I’m automatically drawn to people who seem a bit sad or grouchy.  I think, ‘Aha!  That’s my customer right there.’  It’s almost like a game – except my goal is to be a little bright spot in whatever is getting them down.  It’s really fulfilling.”

Finding ways to be useful to our customers beyond the basic, rote steps required of the position are what keep us fresh and our customers dedicated to doing business with us again and again.  Heidi has done a phenomenal job of this and should serve as inspiration for ways in which we can delight customer after customer.

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