Are You Typical…or Remarkable?

Recently I was in a self-checkout lane at a Kroger’s store while an attendant literally stood and watched me. The signage above the machines stated “for your convenience”. What am I missing here? It’s more convenient for me to be observed than it is to be assisted? Since when? The only way that a scanning machine provides a better customer experience for me is by letting me bypass a poorly trained cashier with a bad attitude. That’s it!
Albertson’s supermarket chain recently announced the removal of self-checkouts in its stores after 10 years of operation. The company stated that self-checkouts no longer fit with the customer experience it wants to provide. Amen!
Not everyone who buys groceries buys flooring. But all who buy flooring do buy groceries. Pay attention to trends developing in retail categories that all of us support. Flooring stores typically don’t have ‘self-assist’ as a marketing tool, but big boxes that sell flooring do.
Albertson’s seems to be rediscovering that there is no substitute for a positive, personal interaction with their customers. Not everyone wants to shop in a barn-like atmosphere. Many shoppers never grew tired of great service – they just grew used to not finding it. Grocery stores, like flooring stores, largely sell very similar products. It is presentation and great service that differentiate the typical from the remarkable. The flooring business is no different. What are you doing to be remarkable in your customer’s eyes?

Tom Jennings

Sunday, August 7, 2011