How’s this for customer service? Sunday, a Harris Teeter grocery store in Charlotte, N.C. gave away free groceries to 60 or 70 customers when a computer problem caused the cash registers to stop processing transactions properly. The store promptly closed its doors, but there were numerous customers inside when the incident occurred. Some customers had to wait in line for about 40 minutes while store employees fixed the problem.
During the wait, store employees served samples of turkey and ham subs, cheese and crackers and sushi. Any lingering frustration with the wait disappeared quickly when customers were told that the store would give them the groceries in their carts for free. One customer interviewed by the Charlotte Observer newspaper reported that he received approximately $110.00 worth of free groceries.
Now, this is one of those times that the store management could have thrown up their hands and said, “Sorry, folks; we cannot process your orders because our registers are down.” Many would have. But this particular store’s management reaped a pre-holiday whirlwind of good press for the company because they went above and beyond in serving their customers. Often, leaders have to make a decision which may be costly in the short term, but it’s the right thing to do. The repercussions can be huge.
Recently, I was at Armstrong Relocation in Madison, picking up some boxes. When it came time to pay, I only had my debit card and no cash. The boxes (worth about $60) were already loaded in my car, and I would have to make a trip to the ATM and come back with the cash. I was about to unload the boxes to make my trip to get the cash, when the manager stopped me. “Just go ahead and get the cash and come back. I trust you.” He didn’t know me from Adam, but extended trust to me anyway. Do you think I’ll go back to Armstrong Relocation? You betcha.
Do you have similar stories to tell? What makes customer service extraordinary? Let us know! We’d like to hear about cases in which businesses have gone the extra mile to serve customers.