Let Your Customers Change the World – Just a Bit

Confirmit Team

Confirmit Team

Author Bio

Confirmit’s dedicated teams work to deliver world-leading customer experience, Voice of the Employee and Market Research solutions. 

Author Bio

I chose 5 items from my local supermarket recently and joined the queue at the basket-only checkout. The queue was long, but when people only have a basket of stuff the queue moves quickly, right?

Wrong. A customer ahead of me put her basket on the counter. Then each of her 3 children put several items down. Then the woman retrieved 2 baskets worth of additional items from the shelf under her stroller. The cashier said nothing, other than to coo over the children (who in my opinion weren’t worthy of cooing over). I rolled my eyes. Eventually 12 (TWELVE!) bags were full of her “basket-only” of purchases. I shuffled forward.

The next person did the same.  Again the cashier said nothing. I worked through every swear word I know in my head, then I created some new ones. After 20 minutes, I was served. The cashier didn’t acknowledge my wait, let alone apologize for it, and I was too angry to say anything. I composed a coherent complaint, and submitted it through their Website.

Two days later the store’s Customer Services Manager called me. First, he apologized. Then he explained that my e-mail caught his eye because he’d stopped someone with armfuls of stuff from using the basket-only checkout that morning. The customer knew it was wrong, but no one ever stopped her, so she always did it. The Services Manager added that a review of staff training, role optimization, and queuing systems was being set up, during which staff would be told to refuse to serve people abusing the basket-only checkout.

I practically skipped home! Granted, it wasn’t really my complaint that fuelled that planned changes, but for that evening I felt like I’d changed the world a bit. And, if not the world, then Ruislip, West London anyway. I had wine to celebrate.

The moral of the story:

If you want customers to give you feedback, tell them what you’re doing with it. Not doing so is a one-way ticket to lower response rates and frustrated customers. I can’t honestly say that I’d have stopped using the store  (it’s right by my house, and I’m quite lazy) but I wouldn’t have cheerfully told my colleagues, friends, and mother about it if they’d not got back to me.

Make feedback a two-way process, and make your customers feel like they changed the world, just a little bit.

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