Here’s some food for thought for you today. While moving through the “Fast Checkout – 10 items or less” line to pay for my two items I looked over at the other queues of shoppers, mostly exhausted-looking mothers, who had shopping carts filled to overflowing with food. I thought to myself that it must have taken them hours to select those many items, backed by a handful of item-specific coupons.
These are the store’s best customers, the men and women who come in to shop for an army, yet the store does nothing to make it easier for those elite clients to do business with them. They make them stand in the longest lines in the store, subjecting them to the longest waits of any of their customer base (particularly those good for nothing two item purchasers like me) without apology, compensation or even the slightest hint of care.
Sure they have loyalty programs that provide savings but those savings are available to all, regardless of purchase volume. I have to wonder why no store in all the years I’ve been food shopping has ever recognized and acknowledged the fact that their best shoppers are being treated like second class citizens.
I know that Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have adopted the banking and airline industry’s use of the single line managed by a line director in some locations with a degree of success, but surely there must be more creative ways to improve the experience of the top customers!?!
Why not tie total dollar purchase volume over time to some type of “elite” or “gold” status like the airlines do? Give those clients a special line, a featured beverage at the front door, personal shoppers or even a lounge where they can sit, rest or socialize? It rarely takes much to give credit where credit is due and I hope that someday, somewhere, a bright marketing person in a forward-thinking, customer-centric grocery store will see the light.
My company is in the midst of reengineering the way we do business to this very end. We want to identify ways in which we can make it easier for our clients to do business with us. I have no doubt that we, like the grocery stores across the nation, have developed processes and systems that are ineffective if not diametrically opposed to this goal and my hope is that over the next three months we can free ourselves from as many of those bad practices as possible.
I am open to ideas – as always! – and appreciate the opportunity to flesh out this line of thought that has been tapping at my chamber door.
Have a great day!