A while back my wife and I had a few friends to our home for a small party. My wife’s sister was visiting us from Spain and we wanted to introduce her to some of our close friends. We wanted to keep the gathering simple and decided to order sandwiches from the deli at our local Albertson’s grocery store. Our party was scheduled for a Saturday so I went in on Friday to place our order. The friendly deli clerk took my order and cheerily said it would be ready the following day at the specified time.
On Saturday, an hour before our guests were to arrive I went to Albertson’s to pick up our sandwich platter. At the deli counter I handed the clerk my receipt and watched as he turned to retrieve the order. After a few minutes of nervously looking around for our platter the clerk returned to say that he could not find our order. As our party was set to begin shortly I became concerned and asked to speak to the manager. The manager assured me that the order would be ready for pick up in an hour and that they would be happy to deliver it in time for my party. I left the store bothered but pleased by the immediate attention the manager had provided. Sure enough within an hour the door bell rang.
What happened next is one of the most impressive examples of exceptional customer service I have experienced. To my surprise standing at the door was the store manager along with staff member. The manager apologized for the mix-up and handed me the sandwich. If that was not exceptional customer service alone, she then handed me a complimentary bouquet of flowers that she brought for the party. Needless to say, the exceptional customer service provided by this manager was the talk of the party. My sister in-law, not accustomed to such a high level of customer service in her home country, could not believe her eyes.
This is a story I share often with my Retail Management students and clients. It serves as an example of employee empowerment and the exceptional customer service that can result when retailers allow their staff to be creative in how they handle service issues.
Do you have a story of exceptional customer service? I’d love to hear about it.