Those of us on the West Coast may not have ever ventured into a Publix Super Market. Located primarily in Florida and the South, Publix has ranked higher in customer satisfaction than all of its competitors (including such grocery store giants as Whole Foods and Kroger) for over a decade.
Whether you’re pedaling books, technology, clothing or food, Publix is a fantastic business role model for enhancing your company’s customer support and shopping experience, and we here at FuseDesk are in awe of their success in this arena.
Keep your Customers Close and your Employees Closer
Publix Super Market was founded in 1930 by a man named George Jenkins, who established his local company to be owned by employees who shared in his profits – an innovative concept at the time. Over the years, Publix grew into a successful chain and began promoting from within. In fact, a 2009 Wall Street Journal article wrote that “nearly all of the chain’s management team has experience in stocking shelves.”
When the recession hit a few years back, many grocery stores instituted lay-offs and consumers suffered a lack of customer support as a result. But not at Publix. This chain maintained a commitment to its employees and didn’t let go a single worker, which meant that customers weren’t suffering from long check-out lines or absentee clerks.
Publix even used the recession to introduce new customer-centric innovations, such as meal plans to assist customers in keeping within their budgets. And through it all, they continued to win customer satisfaction awards.
Publix isn’t afraid to put their focus on the customer out there in writing. The first part of their Mission Statement touts that they are passionately focused on customer value. Furthermore, Publix offers the following satisfaction guarantee right on their website: “We will never knowingly disappoint you. If for any reason your purchase does not give you complete satisfaction, the full purchase price will be cheerfully refunded immediately upon request.”
They don’t claim to be perfect, but by offering a guarantee, they’re showing customers that they’re willing to be held accountable and will offer a refunds with smiles on their faces. A mission statement or core values that mention a focus on customer service and a satisfaction guarantee are both things to consider if you’re revamping your customer support program. You could even add them to your default support reply template in Infusionsoft! But words are meaningless without actions and it’s clear that Publix truly keeps its word, so if you make a promise to your customers, make sure that your customer support reps are following through.
If you want customers to love your company, love thy employees above all. Some of the best customers are employees and they’re the ones who will go home at the end of the day and either gush about or badmouth their workday experience.
So maybe it’s not possible for you to offer them stock options like Publix, but at the very least, bring in a box of doughnuts or a dispenser of the “good” coffee once in a while. Offer incentives no matter how small because at the end of the day, if your employees are happy, your customers are bound to be offered great customer support.
In times of economic turmoil, if you are forced to make decisions to reduce your budget, perhaps take a cue from Publix and rather than laying off customer support representatives, reduce costs elsewhere and hold team meetings to discover new ways in which you can rise above your competitors with the customers’ best interest in mind. If it’s worked for Publix, why can’t it work for you?